Jose Bautista Trying to Come Back to MLB as a Pitcher

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:

Former slugger Jose Bautista wants to make go back to the majors as a reliever. Babe Ruth did it the other way around. The Great Bambino started as a pitcher, a pretty good one actually and then became a legendary slugger, one of the greatest of all-time.

Sources close to ESPN’s Jeff Passan said that Bautista has reached 94 mph with his fastball in his bullpen sessions and that he even threw sliders. Jose Bautista, a six-time MLB All-Star, has worked out with former Blue Jays teammate Marcus Stroman, who said that he likes Bautista’s chances to succeed as a reliever.

“I’ve seen video of Jose Bautista throwing a bullpen session. Couldn’t tell the velocity, but one source said he can run his fastball up to 94. His slider had legitimate tilt — threw a short one and a bigger bender. @STR0 said in January he could pitch in a big league bullpen,” Passan said.

What Bautista wants to do is not easy. If anyone can do it it’s him though. He started his career in the majors as a utility player with teams like the Orioles, Rays, Royals, Pirates and then the Blue Jays from 2004 to 2009. The 39-year-old never hit more than 16 home runs in a season but in 2009 he was moved to the outfield and everything changed, especially because Cito Gaston, his manager back then and first base coach Dwayne Murphy advised him to make shorter swings.

Bautista finished the 2009 season with 10 home runs in his last 26 games and in 2010 he broke through, leading MLB with 54 home runs. He became the first player in Blue Jays history with at least 50 home runs in a season. Overall he hit 227 home runs between 2010 and 2015.

Jose Bautista last played in MLB with the Phillies in 2018 and he hopes to be part of the Dominican Republic team at the 2020 Olympic games.

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