Bautista brushes aside Blue Jays curse

* At the All-Star Game festivities in Minneapolis this week, OF Jose Bautista was asked if perhaps the Toronto Blue Jays, who have gone two decades without a playoff appearance, are cursed. No way, Jose, the slugger said. .... 2014 Canadians drafted … Canadians in the Minors … Canadians in College 2015 Canadian draft list Letters of Intent

By Bob Elliott

MINNEAPOLIS -- The term is a scary one in baseball circles.

Jose Bautista was asked if he thought that the Blue Jays think were cursed considering all the injuries that have happened this season.

“We joke about it, but no one truly believes it,” Bautista told reporters.

No, no one in the industry from bat boy to infielder, to pitcher to the president is superstitious.

No, no one believes in curses.

The Curse of the Bambino saw the Boston Red Sox go 86 years - 1918 to 2004 - between World Series championships after trading Babe Ruth.

The Curse of the Billy Goat was placed on the Chicago Cubs in 1945 when Billy Goat Tavern owner Billy Sianis was asked to leave a Series game against the Detroit Tigers at Wrigley Field because the smell of his pet was bothering fans. The Cubs have not won a World Series since 1908.

So, what is it the curse of Aaron Hill?

“No,” said Bautista.

The curse of Jacob Brumfield?

“You always mention guys I’ve never played with,” said Bautista. “I didn’t mention any names.”

What about the curse of Joe Carter, as the Jays head into the second half of their 21st season without playing in October, since Carter’s swing off Mitch Williams?

First baseman Edwin Encarnacion (strained quad muscle) will be out another 3-to-5 weeks, DH Adam Lind (broken bone in his right foot) will miss at least another two weeks and infielder Brett Lawrie (broken middle finger, right hand) will miss another 2-to-3 weeks.

“You can tell, teams that play on turf get hurt more often than teams that play on natural grass, only Tampa Bay and us play on turf,” said Bautista. “We have guys who are here a few days and they get injured.”

Outfielder Cole Gillespie played one game for the Jays and went on the disabled list with an abdominal injury.

Outfielder Nolan Reimold played four games and went down with a strained left calf.

Bautista is right when he mentions that the Rays have been beset by injuries, although not all the fallen Rays were done in by the turf monster:

Lefty Matt Moore (Tommy John elbow surgery), outfielder Wil Myers (wrist fracture), right-hander Alex Cobb (oblique strain) right-hander Jeremy Hellickson (elbow surgery) outfielder David DeJesus (hand fracture), catcher Ryan Hanigan (hamstring), infielder Ben Zobrist (dislocated thumb), shortstop Yunel Escobar (sore shoulder), outfielder Brandon Guyer (thumb fracture) reliever Juan Carlos Oviedo (elbow surgery), infielder Tim Beckham (knee surgery) and infielder Jerry Sands (strained wrist).

Still, as the Jays hit the all-star break four games back of the Baltimore Orioles, Bautista said that the Jays were “in best position to make playoffs in past five years.”

A year ago the Jays were four games under, 11 1/2 games back; two years ago they were a .500 team, 9 1/2 games behind, three years ago they were two games under, 11 games back; in 2010 they were a game under .500, 12 1/2 games back; and in 2009 they were two games under, 11 games back.

The Jays have not been as close as four games out of first at the break since 2006 -- back when Drew Hutchison and Anthony Gose were both 14 years of age -- when the Jays were 10 games over .500 and five games back of the Boston Red Sox.

But that team did not hit the break having lost eight of their last 10, 11 of their previous 15, 14 of their last 21, and 17 of their past 25.

“We’ve got to figure out how to win,” said Bautista, “we’ve got to figure out how to stay on the field or have capable guys to come up and help.”

Bautista said a trade would help the Jays in the second half -- but was not essential.

That’s quite unlike the day before all-star game at Kauffman Stadium in 2012 when Bautista urged general manager Alex Anthopoulos to obtain three starters.

“Well ... we lost three,” said Bautista after Brandon Morrow, Kyle Drabek and Hutchison were lost in a four-game span.

David Price will be moved -- if Tampa Bay falls out of the race -- but the asking price for Price is Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, Daniel Norris and Dalton Pompey.

The Jays did scout right-hander Kevin Correia, 33, when he pitched six innings allowing one run in a 9-3 Minnesota Twins win over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday.

Until someone is added, the Jays, cursed or not, will plug along toward the end of the month deadline.

Could it be the curse of Willie Canate?

Briefly: The Blue Jays re-acquired former first rounder Brett Wallace Monday, assigning him to triple-A Buffalo.

Wallace, 27, was hitting .265 with 10 home runs and 35 RBIs, with a .718 OPS in 90 games at triple-A Norfolk. The Jays purchased Wallace’s contract from the Baltimore Orioles. He replaces Dan Johnson, who was promoted when Adam Lind was injured. The St. Louis Cardinals chose Wallace 13th over-all ahead of the likes of first rounders Aaron Hicks, Brett Lawrie, David Cooper, Ike Davis, Andrew Cashner, Daniel Schlereth, Gerrit Cole and Casey Kelly in the 2008 draft. He was dealt to the Oakland A’s as part of the Matt Holliday package, then dealt to the Jays for Michael Taylor, obtained from Philadelphia Phillies in the Roy Halladay deal and six months later dealt to Houston for Anthony Gose.