Needing outfielders with both Juan Lagares and Yeonis Cespedes on the disabled, the New York Mets signed veteran outfielder Jose Bautista for the remainder of the season, mere days after his release from the Atlanta Braves. Arriving at the ballpark mere hours before the start of Tuesday’s game, he doubled in his first at bat, and finished one-for-three in the Mets’ 5-1 loss to the Marlins.

Bautista made a sliding stop on Brian Anderson’s double into the alley in the second inning, then caught a fly to end the third and tossed the ball into the stands as a souvenir. He struck out swinging his last two at-bats. Bautista quickly acclimated to his new surroundings. A few minutes before the first pitch, a clubhouse attendant showed him four bats on the bench, and Bautista nodded yes. Before he hit, he went searching for powder in the on-deck circle, and asked a bat boy to find it for him.

Just by getting on the field, Bautista’s second stay with the Mets lasted longer than his first stint. Bautista was a rookie when he was dealt from Kansas City to the Mets at the trading deadline in July 2004. Hours later, the Mets shipped him in a package to Pittsburgh for pitcher Kris Benson. That season, long before he developed his big, pulling-hitting power stroke with Toronto, Bautista played for four different teams in the majors — Baltimore, Tampa Bay, Kansas City and Pittsburgh.

Bautista signed for the $545,000 major league minimum. Alderson said the six-time All-Star wasn’t considered merely a short-term fix, and said Bautista was told he wouldn’t be playing every day. Along with the corner outfield spots, Bautista could possibly see action at third base and first base, too. Alderson said the newcomer was aware his performance would determine his playing time. Bautista played only third base with Atlanta, starting at the spot eight times. He hit .143 (5-for-35) with two home runs and five RBIs, striking out 12 times.

Bautista hit .203 with 23 homers and 65 RBIs in 157 games last season with Toronto, and went unsigned as a free agent during the winter. He struck out 170 times. Bautista led the AL with 54 homers in 2010 and 43 in 2011. He has hit at least 20 home runs in each of the past eight seasons.

Alderson said his assistant, former Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi, was familiar with Bautista from their days in Toronto. Alderson said he’d heard a couple of other teams were interested in signing Bautista.

New York optioned infielder-outfielder Phillip Evans to Triple-A Las Vegas.

Related Posts:




You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment