Associated Press

José Bautista is hoping to come back as a two-way player

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You may know that, after a 12-year absence, baseball is returning for the Olympics this summer. As part of that there will be some Olympic qualifiers played at the end of this month in Florida. Amateurs and players who are not on teams are obviously eligible to play. Likewise, players who are on 40-man rosters of big league teams but who are not on the major league roster are permitted to take part in the qualifiers.

Today Jeff Passan of ESPN has an article up about the Dominican Republic’s team as it heads into qualifiers. Among those players who are on the 40-man but not on a big league roster who plans to take part is Wander Franco, the top prospect in the Rays’ system and, indeed, in all of baseball. Not a shock, really. He’d be a great addition to the D.R.’s Olympic team.

A bit more surprising: José Bautista, who has not played in the bigs since 2018. Only a bit more surprising, though, as he can still probably hit pretty well against the lesser competition in the Olympic games (Major League players will not be taking part).  But here’s the real surprising part:

Bautista is expected to play first base, a position he manned 30 times in more than 1,650 major league games during which he hit 344 home runs and drove in nearly 1,000 runs. He last played in the major leagues in 2018, though he spent this winter working out as a pitcher in hopes of returning as a two-way player, sources said.

That seems pretty far-fetched, but on Twitter Passan added this:

“@STR0” is Marcus Stroman.

I doubt Bautista will actually make it to a big league roster, but given that rosters now allow for 26 players, and given that there are now special rules for two-way players, it’s not the most insane thing to contemplate. I bet teams will send some scouts to see him in the qualifier to see if the bat is anywhere close to serviceable anymore and, if it is, they may call him in for a bullpen session.

Donaldson ejected for kicking dirt on plate after home run

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
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Minnesota’s Josh Donaldson managed to get ejected while hitting a home run.

Donaldson barked at plate umpire Dan Bellino for the second time in the sixth inning of a 4-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Thursday.

With the score 2-2, Bellino called a strike when the 2015 AL MVP checked his swing on a 2-0 pitch from Reynaldo Lopez.

Manager Rocco Baldelli came out to speak with Bellino, and Donaldson homered down the left-field line on the next offering. After rounding the bases, Donaldson kicked dirt at home plate as he crossed it.

Bellino ejected him immediately, and Donaldson, realizing he had missed home plate, returned to the plate to touch it and then argued as he kicked more dirt on it.

Donaldson also had argued with Bellino on a 1-1 breaking ball in the first inning that appeared to be high but was called a strike, leading to a strikeout.

“We need Josh on the field, out there playing, and at third base,” Baldelli said. “That’s when we’re at our best. And so that’s really the end of it. I think we can move past it at his point, and go from here.”