Daily Duce: Tuesday, May 23rd


“I wasn’t listening, if that’s what people were saying,” says José Bautista about critics suggesting he was finished earlier this season, before his recent turnaround with the bat. The quote comes from a piece by Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, and in it Bautista continued: “All I know is that my timing was off. I wasn’t in the rhythm that I personally need to be in. I had to find that timing back again, that’s the way my swing is. I feel it’s come back. I was swinging at bad pitches and the ones I was swinging at that were good, I was missing because of the timing.” A nifty graphic they have comparing José’s hits in April to his May speaks volumes.

Bautista starts tonight at third base, according to a tweet from the Star’s Laura Armstrong. It will be his first start there for the club since 2013!

It won’t be too long, though, before Josh Donaldson is back manning that spot, however, as he and Troy Tulowitzki both played in a rehab game for Dunedin last night. It was Donaldson’s first rehab game on this current DL stint, but Tulo’s fourth, so the shortstop will almost certainly be the first one back, but Donaldson shouldn’t be too far behind. And, in fact, Ben Nicholson-Smith tweets that John Gibbons says he expects both to be back by the weekend. LET’S HOPE IT’S REAL THIS TIME!

Speaking of Tulo being in Dunedin, the D-Jays tweet some pics of the Jays’ shortstop putting on a hitting clinic for some of his current A-ball teammates after batting practice this afternoon. Legend.

Hey, cool, Benny Fresh also tweets that Aaron Sanchez has no timetable for his return — he’s not throwing yet and the intention is for him to let his finger heal as fully as possible so as to avoid future blister problems.

More from Benny Fresh, as at Sportsnet he talks to Marco Estrada, who recently seems to have made strikeouts his weapon of choice. And in another at Sportsnet, Ben looks at Devon Travis, who is finally healthy, and having what might be the best stretch of his young career.

The Jays’ depth has been tested over the last few weeks, says Nick Ashbourne of Yahoo! Sports, and, never one to miss a negative angle, he adds that it has failed.

Israel Fehr of the Athletic talks to reliever Joe Smith, who says he’s feeling great, thanks in large part to his work with the Jays’ new High Performance department.

Elsewhere at the Athletic, John Lott visits Rowdy Tellez in Buffalo, and finds a slugger starting to come around after a sluggish start. And in another piece from Israel, we hear from Darwin Barney, on his story, his roots, and growing up in Beaverton, Oregon.

Great stuff, as always, from Josh Howsam of BP Toronto, as he looks at what’s wrong with Jason Grilli, and finds that — as you’d probably expect — it’s not the stuff so much as it is the location. He’s been leaving sliders over the plate, unable to finish hitters off, and… y’know… basically just sucking. (He managed to regain his fastball location last season, though, so there’s at least a little bit of hope he can come back from this!)

Elsewhere at BP Toronto, Greg Wisniewski looks at which Jays are barreling the ball the best so far in 2017, and finds that — also as you’d probably expect — the changes made this off-season by Kevin Pillar and Justin Smoak seem to be paying off.

At BP proper, Eric Roseberry looks at Smoak as well, and he’s buying!

Gregor Chisholm has an always-excellent new Inbox post up over at BlueJays.com.

One thing we’d do well to remember in our reactions to the Kevin Pillar situation, I think, is that our concern shouldn’t be so much how this reflects on him and his reputation and on the team, but what we and the team and the players and baseball culture as a whole can do to make a whole community of fans and potential fans feel included and welcome. But on the “how Pillar is handling it” front, Steve Buffery has a big update and statements from Kevin over at the Toronto Sun. His actions going forward will be more important than the words he says now, but for what it’s worth it seems like he’s saying all the right things.

Elsewhere in the Sun, Steve Simmons gives Ross Atkins full marks for how he handled last week’s situation.

With Anthony Alford up last week, Chris Mitchell of FanGraphs looks at what their KATOH projection system has to say about him. Clutchlings tells us what to expect from him as well.

Matt W. of Bluebird Banter looks at the Blue Jays’ draft tendencies in recent years, as he tries to suss out what we might be able to expect early next month when the Jays make their second set of draft picks of the Shapiro-Atkins era.

Great stuff from Robert MacLeod of the Globe and Mail, as he talks to Ryan Tepera, who is thriving in a “thankless” role in the Jays’ bullpen.

Jays Droppings takes us on some kind of a Blue Jays fortune teller tour.

South of the Six tries to find some silver linings in the Jays’ injured rotation.

Interesting stuff from Ben Lindberg of the Ringer, as he looks at the downfall of Jonathan Lucroy’s once-elite pitch framing skills. “I hope to never read a similar piece about Russell Martin,” tweets our friend @DrewGROF.

The Buffalo Bisons jersey for their annual Star Wars day has been revealed, and according to the Buffalo News, it will feature Jabba the Hut. Who is… some kind of muppet or something.

Lastly, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports has a whole mess of thoughts on the Red Sox managerial mess, and the fact that John Farrell seems to be on the hot seat, but the natural replacement for him — bench coach Torey Lovullo — was allowed to leave over the winter to go manage the Diamondbacks. LOLZERZ!