Bautista moves, Blue Jays lose

Blue Jays outfielder Eric Thames (right) misplays a ball against the Pirates at the Rogers Centre...

Blue Jays outfielder Eric Thames (right) misplays a ball against the Pirates at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ont., June 28, 2011. (CRAIG ROBERTSON/QMI Agency)

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:37 PM ET

TORONTO - Like a cop on the street, Jose Bautista was back pounding his old beat Tuesday night.

The Jays asked him to shift back to third base last week and after preparing himself for the switch the past four days he made the move against his old team, the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Why now?

"Four days of work, four days of getting comfortable with his rhythm and the tempo of the ground ball," manager John Farrell replied. "Out of respect to Jose, he wanted to feel that comfort and we wanted to be sure we wouldn't be putting him there too quick."

Bautista's move figured to create a drop in the effectiveness of the outfield's defence and that didn't take long to materialize.

In the fourth inning with a runner on first, Matt Diaz hit a sinking liner to right that Bautista probably would have caught. Eric Thames, in right, didn't get a great jump and pulled up, the ball bounced by him and evaded Corey Patterson backing him up allowing an RBI triple.

Garrett Jones followed with a grounder to Adam Lind at first. It should have been another out but when Lind looked up to flip the ball to first, Reyes was late getting to first, leaving the runner safe and another run in.

The inning then slid down the drain, the Pirates counted four, and in the end they emerged with a 7-6 victory despite four homers from the Jays.

"We contributed to that inning (fourth) with some sloppy defence, a ball getting through to the wall in right-centre field," Farrell said. "I thought when Jo-Jo failed to cover first base, the extra out allowed them to plate two more runs in the inning."

Third base, though, wasn't a problem and it didn't have a negative effect on Bautista at the plate. In the fourth he slammed his 24th homer of the season, a two-run shot to left.

Bautista at third was exactly how the Jays were supposed to open up the season and the slugger, who prefers to play right field, said back then what he is saying now -- that he will do what is best for the team.

But that was before the Jays discovered during spring training that Juan Rivera had lost a lot of range and would be a trouble spot defensively in right.

So Bautista went to right, Edwin Encarnacion went from DH back to third and Rivera became the DH. That's how the Jays opened up.

Third base then became the black hole as Encarnacion proved to be a defensive liability while at the plate Jayson Nix and John McDonald have proved lacking at a position that is traditionally a spot for someone with offensive capabilities.

Canada's Brett Lawrie was supposed to fill the void at third but that plan was scrubbed when Lawrie suffered a broken bone in the back of his left hand when hit by a pitch while playing at triple-A Las Vegas. He is still out and may not make it to the Jays until August or later necessitating the move by Bautista.

The tradeoff -- an outfield of three of Rajai Davis, Patterson, Rivera and Thames -- is definitely defensively shaky but it is something the Jays believe they can live with in an effort to add some oomph to their lineup.

While it is not the first choice of the Jays, it definitely is on the back burner of Bautista's wish list.

"I still feel strongly that my best position is in right field and not only because it's where I play the best, but because it's where I'm going to help the team the most," Bautista said before the game. "I don't think just because I'm moving to third is how we can get the bats in the lineup. I think there's ways of staying in right field and still get the same nine bats in the lineup. It's just that Edwin is hurting right now (a tweak in the left side of his lower back) and obviously somebody needs to play right now and the way it's shaping up to be, that person is me."

Cecil returns

The move to third by Bautista was not the only news of the day for the Jays.

Earlier the Jays announced that lefty Brett Cecil, a 15-game winner in the bigs last season, was returning from his long exile in Las Vegas and would be starting Thursday night against the Pirates.

Rookie Zach Stewart, who looked good in two of his three starts, will be returning to double-A New Hampshire.

In 12 starts with Las Vegas, Cecil was 8-2 with a 5.26 ERA.

He opened the season with the Jays and in four starts was 1-2 with a 6.86 ERA.

Through spring training and in his four starts with the Jays, Cecil was more than freaked out by a drop in velocity. In the spring he was throwing 87-89 m.p.h. instead of his usual 92-94 and it messed with his overall confidence.

At Vegas, the arm strength eventually returned and now he is back as the


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