Bautista will start all-star game

Blue Jays batter Jose Bautista tosses his bat after flying out against the Angels at the Rogers...

Blue Jays batter Jose Bautista tosses his bat after flying out against the Angels at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ont., June 28, 2012. (MIKE CASSESE/Reuters)

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:22 PM ET

TORONTO - Jose Bautista is thrilled enough to be heading towards his third consecutive all-star game.

But he’s not happy that he’s going alone.

While Bautista received the third highest total for the outfield spot in the fan voting, he is the lone Blue Jays player to be heading towards the oven that will be Kansas City a week Tuesday.

Bautista is particularly dismayed his friend and teammate Edwin Encarnacion did not make the grade, not even for consideration for the Final Man vote.

In 75 games as a DH/1B, Encarnacion has slammed 22 home runs and driven in 55 to go along with a .289 batting average. Those stats are good enough for fifth in the American League in both home runs

and RBIs. He is also sixth in total bases (162) and fifth in slugging percentage (.570).

Despite all those rosy stats he is staying home.

“Hopefully a door cracks open for Edwin (as a replacement). I know he’s deserving,” Bautista said Sunday. “I’ve been here all year long seeing what he’s been able to do, especially when I wasn’t do so well how he put the team on his back basically and was driving in a ton of runs.

“To have the numbers that he has, the batting average, home runs, RBIs, to me it’s a disappointment that he didn’t get voted in. It’s a disappointment that we didn’t select him as players (in their portion of the vote) and I’m basically a little bit upset that he wasn’t on the 34th man choice.”

As for the Final Man vote, Bautista didn’t believe Encarnacion would have made it.

“To be honest with you, even if he was on the Last Man vote I don’t think he would have had a chance anyway,” Bautista said. “It was pretty good strategy by Ron Washington (Texas manager) to try to get (Yu) Darvish in there. The whole country of Japan is going to vote for him. SO my congratulations go out to Darvish, he’s going to make it for sure.”

That’s not to say that Bautista will be wearing a frown during his time in Kansas City.

For one thing, he said he’s willing to give it another go in the Home Run Derby. In last year’s edition at Phoenix, Bautista managed just four and was eliminated in the opening round.

“Yeah it’s fun. I’m debating whether to do it or not,” He said. “The invitation has been sent my way and I’m 99 percent sure that I will. I’ve got to run it by the team. I have to make sure it’s fine with them. If it was up to me right now, I’d say yeah.”

As far as Bautista earning another trip to the all-star game, on that there is no debate.

He is the home run leader in the Major Leagues with 26 and is tied for second in RBIs with 62.

After a slow start, Bautista erupted in June as he finished the month with 14 homers, 30 RBIs and an OPS of 1.158. The 14 homers represented a club record for most home runs in a month.

For the past two seasons, manager John Farrell has had a front row seat watching Bautista.

“With the way his season has unfolded, he’s on pace for maybe the best offensive year of his career,” Farrell said. “When you think that he’s hit 50-plus home runs one time (54 in 2010), it’s hard to imagine someone could improve upon that yet he’s on pace to do just that.

“He’s played in every game. He never takes a play off. Just the way he goes about his work, he’s the leader by example, he leads by his conversations in the clubhouse and the dugout. By every definition of the word, he is a leader.”

He’s an all-star in every sense of the word and next week he’ll take his bow in Kansas City.


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