TORONTO - You can exhale now Blue Jays fans. Jose Bautista is A-OK.
Toronto's all-star slugger was hit in the left side of his batting helmet in the third inning of Tuesday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles. He dropped to the ground and after being examined by the training staff was taken out of the game for precautionary reasons.
Following the Jays' ugly 12-4 loss, Bautista said he was as right as rain, in the pink, feeling mellow and would be ready to roll in Wednesday’s game.
“I’m fine, I’m not hurt,” Bautista stressed. “My head doesn’t hurt and I’m not dizzy.”
Bautista said it’s just part of the game, a ball that got away from Baltimore starter Jake Arrieta when he tried to come inside on a 0-2 pitch.
“It was an 0-2 pitch and those things happen,” Bautista said. “You see the ball coming at you and you try to get out of the way. If it hits you, it hits you and that’s what happened.
“More importantly I’m fine and I expect to play tomorrow. I feel like I’m going to be capable of playing. I feel fine.”
It could, however, have been a lot worse and the sound of a ball striking a helmet is always a sickening one.
“It hit me flush but I was looking away so the impact wasn’t at full force,” he added. “That’s one of the good things about the whole thing.”
If Bautista had his way, he would have trotted down to first base after the initial on-field examination.
“I didn’t want to come out of the game but they told me I didn’t have a choice,” he said. “I had preliminary tests tonight (from team doctors) and passed everything. Got to see how I wake up in the morning. If there’s no headache or anything from my understanding I should be in there (Wednesday).”
Jays manager John Farrell said that Bautista should be good to go Wednesday as, “He had no symptoms of a concussion this evening. We’ll certainly check him tomorrow but everything right now points to him being available tomorrow.”
The Orioles not only knocked Bautista from the game, but they knocked Jays starter Brandon Morrow around at will, banging away at him for nine hits, including three home runs and seven runs.
It was definitely payback time for the Orioles.
The past few seasons the Orioles have been little more than road kill when going up against the Jays. Toronto had won 24 of the the previous 33 meetings between both teams dating back to 2009.
Coming into the game, Morrow, who was celebrating his 27th birthday, looked as good as gold. The right-hander was in one of his streaks where he is going so good that you wonder how he can ever lose a game.
He entered the contest having won five consecutive decisions. Against the Orioles, he had gone 2-0 in his career.
Morrow, 7-5, offered no excuses.
“I just wasn’t very good tonight,” Morrow said. “I was pulling a lot of fastballs to the first-base side of the box and when I threw my slider it was spinning at the top of the hitting zone and they hit a bunch of those pretty well.”
It was his worst outing since he was clubbed in back-to-back losses against the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox in late May and early June.
“I think my bad outings this year have been spectacularly bad,” he said. “It’s kind of been rough in that aspect. But I’ve been on a good roll and been throwing the ball well so I’m not going to let this one get me down.”
There are times when Jays outfielder Travis Snider tries just a little too hard. One of those occasions came in the second inning after the Orioles opened with consecutive singles to place runners on first and second. Baltimore's Derrek Lee followed with a fly to left-centre. Snider broke to his right on the ball and should have taken the ball on the hop which may have frozen the runners allowing Baltimore to load the bases. At the worst, one run would have scored. Snider, though, went for the diving catch, missed, and it allowed both runners to score ... In the third inning with one on and two out, Matt Wieters rolled a harmless grounder to Toronto's Adam Lind. The first baseman flipped the ball to Morrow for the out but the right-hander got his feet crossed up and instead of touching the bag waved his foot over it, Wieters being called safe. Lee followed with an RBI single to run the score to 4-0 ... The 3 1/3 innings Morrow pitched matched his shortest outing of the season. The three homers allowed matched his career high ... The high point of the game for the Jays was Lind’s three-run homer in the fourth. The first baseman has now hit a homer in five consecutive games against the Orioles and six over that span.