According to John Lott of the National Post, Jose Bautista left tonight’s game against the Indians with a twisted ankle. He apparently tweaked something when he stepped on first base on an RBI ground out in the eighth inning.
The good news is that Blue Jays manager John Gibbons wasn’t too worried about it after the game. Bautista will be re-evaluated tomorrow, but it doesn’t sound like he’ll need to miss much time, if any.
There was some concern that Bautista’s surgically-repaired left wrist would have an impact on his power production in the early part of the season, but it hasn’t been a factor thus far. The 32-year-old slugger launched a two-run homer tonight and now has two home runs in three games this season.
UPDATE: Here’s an update from the man himself. Fortunately for the Blue Jays, it doesn’t sound like a big deal.
You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.
Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.
Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.
Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.