Jays manager not concerned about Bautista

KEN FIDLIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:02 AM ET

DUNEDIN — Manager John Farrell has no concerns that Blue Jay slugger Jose Bautista is going to put pressure on himself to match his massive 54-home run season of 2010.

Bautista, whose arbitration hearing was postponed Monday in order to allow his agent and the Blue Jays to try to negotiate a long-term extension, was not in camp Monday and probably won’t be here again until his contract status is finalized.

“The numbers bear out that if he doesn’t get his pitch to hit, he’s not afraid to take a walk and pass it along to the next guy,” said Farrell. “He’s always had a high walk rate. Clearly what he’s done (recently) is handle pitches in the strike zone with much more effectiveness and consistency.

“But if pitchers aren’t going to challenge him, he’s not going to be a guy who is going to chase out of the zone just for the fact of trying to reproduce a home-run total of a year ago.”

As Boston’s pitching coach, Farrell spent a lot of time and effort last season game-planning against Bautista, without appreciable success. Bautista homered eight times against the Red Sox, second-most against an individual team.

“We tried a number of different things and we still saw balls leaving the park,” said Farrell. “Those are indications that this is a special hitter that he’s able to make those types of adjustments when you try to counter-adjust in the game within the game. Most importantly, when he got his pitch in the zone, he didn’t miss it.”


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