Toronto Blue Jays: Should Jose Bautista go on the Disabled List?


Toronto Blue Jays: Should Jose Bautista go on the Disabled List?

More from Toronto Blue Jays

The time is coming soon, when the Toronto Blue Jays are going to have to make a tough decision about Jose Bautista. Look no further than the end of the 10-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles, when he wasn’t even able to high-five with his throwing arm.

If you listen to the Blue Jays, they believe continuing to play as the designated hitter won’t aggravate the strain in his right shoulder. Now I’m no Doctor, but how can this be doing Bautista any good, especially when you consider he has one of the most violent (and spectacular) swings in all of baseball?

In fairness to the Blue Jays, it’s tough to argue with their current stance, at least from a performance perspective. In 14 games as the DH, he is hitting .292, with one home run and 8 RBIs.

In particular, the 34-year old’s batting average supports Toronto’s position. Since taking over as DH, Bautista has seen his average rise from .140 to .219.

However, how much longer can the Blue Jays continue this experiment with their right fielder? Surely they are playing with fire, the longer they allow him to DH?

More from Tip of the Tower

John Lott of the National Post discussed the injury with John Gibbons on Monday. The Blue Jays manager even admitted that not playing DH would help Bautista’s shoulder get better.

For his part, the Blue Jays slugger said no, when asked if he needs time off to recover. As he told Lott: “It doesn’t hurt to swing.”

However, he did go on to add: “It probably doesn’t heal as quick as it would if I wouldn’t be doing anything.”

Of course, you have to wonder how much of this is related to Bautista’s competitive spirit? In his mind at least, he probably feels like he would be letting the team down, if he didn’t play.

May 12, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista (19) hits a ground rule double during the seventh inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The worst thing is, without complete rest, there is no way of knowing how long the shoulder injury will linger: “Sometimes I wake up and can’t brush my hair. Sometimes I wake up and it feels OK.

“Obviously not good enough to throw. It just changes from day to day. I can’t tell you why. I just can’t throw right now.”

Another aspect of the injury is the knock-on effect for the rest of the team, with Bautista replacing Edwin Encarnacion as the DH. In turn, the 32-year old has taken over Justin Smoak‘s role as first baseman.

This in itself is a risky move, given Encarnacion’s history of back problems. (As recently as spring training, he had an MRI, which revealed inflammation in his back.) Another reason why I believe the Blue Jays should bite the bullet, and put Bautista on the disabled list.

The former Pittsburgh Pirate originally injured his shoulder during a game on April 21. He was attempting to throw out Baltimore Orioles outfielder Delmon Young at first base.

Next: Why the Blue Jays Need to be Cautious with Michael Saunders