Out of the starting lineup since June 22 with a hamstring injury, Jose Bautista is starting at designated hitter for the Blue Jays this afternoon against the Brewers.
Bautista appeared as a pinch-hitter Sunday, but manager John Gibbons still wants to play it a little safe by keeping him out of right field for at least one more day. That means usual designated hitter Adam Lind will sit versus Marco Estrada despite batting .378 off right-handed pitchers this season.
Bautista is leading the American League in All-Star votes with nearly five million and also leads the league in walks and on-base percentage while hitting .304 with 15 homers and a .956 OPS in 78 games.
The Rockies fell 9-6 to the Orioles on Saturday, but the loss wasn’t without its bright spots. Case in point: Third baseman Nolan Arenado passed a significant career milestone on an Andrew Cashner fastball in the third inning, slugging the ball a projected 394 feet into the left field stands for his 200th career home run.
Arenado is the 34th active player to join the 200+ homer club and the first to do so since the Braves’ Freddie Freeman crossed that threshold on May 19. The three-run shot was the infielder’s 14th of the season and third since Friday, when he went deep twice against Orioles rookie John Means and reliever Shawn Armstrong. Following Saturday’s performance, he’s batting a robust .333/.377/.632 with 30 extra-base hits, 42 RBI, and a 1.009 OPS through 220 plate appearances.
He isn’t the only Rockies slugger making history, either. Arenado’s feat trailed that of Trevor Story, who clobbered an 0-2 pitch from Armstrong during the seventh inning of Friday’s 8-6 win. The two-run blast was his 100th home run in 448 career games, making him the fastest shortstop to reach the mark in MLB history.
The Rockies will vie for the series win as they round out the series on Sunday, with right-hander German Márquez scheduled to take the bump against fellow righty David Hess at 3:10 PM EDT.