Jays lose Bautista

BILL LANKHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:25 PM ET

ST. PETERSBURG — The baseball gods give, and they take.

And, it would be easy to understand if the Blue Jays argued it wasn’t a fair trade.

On a day the Tampa Bay Rays got all-star third baseman Evan Longoria back in the lineup, the Toronto Blue Jays lost Jose Bautista prior to last night's 3-2 loss here.

Bautista was sent for an MRI after a stiff neck that resulted in his leaving the game Sunday against New York got worse. His absence from the starting lineup was a surprise. “The way things went from the flight down and through the off day (Monday) the spasms seem to have intensified. We felt at the time he came out of the game he’d have a chance to get over it with the off day,” said Farrell. “But when he woke up (Tuesday) the discomfort was more intense,” Farrell said prior to the game.

Bautista’s absence continues a litany of injuries and “it changes the complexion” of the the Jays’ lineup. Bautista leads the American League in numerous offensive categories including home runs, slugging and runs — and his absence leaves a huge hole. “Not only isn’t he in the lineup he’s probably a couple days away from rejoining us. At this point we’re projecting some time on the weekend,” said Farrell.

Meantime, Longoria returned for the first time since he suffered a strained left oblique in the second game of the season, sending him to the disabled list. “He’s one of the best in baseball,” said Farrell; then showed why throwing J.P. Arencibia out from behind third base in the second inning.

“You like to watch really good players. You like the fact, maybe, that you could watch them on TV,” Farrell said, laughing, “instead of standing 75 feet from our dugout.”

There were predictions of doom that the Rays wouldn’t stay afloat without their star but finished April with a 15-12 record. The Jays can but hope they survive without Bautista in similar fashion.

HOUSE OF HORRORS

Tropicana Field has been a house of horrors for the Jays. Toronto has not won a series here since April 2007, they are 8-26 in that span.

A reason for Toronto’s difficulties here, said Farrell, isn’t apparent. “It’s a symmetrical ballpark. This unlike the Metrodome, where it took a day or so to just adjust your vision, is a pretty clear place to see the ball.”

Of course the fact the Rays have won the AL East championship twice in the last three years probably has something to do with it. “We’ve got a challenge ahead of us, particularly with the state of our roster and the people we’re missing.”


Photos