video thumbnail

TOR@STL: Bautista crushes a go-ahead solo shot

Toronto slugger Jose Bautista is making the move from the outfield back to third base.

Expect him to return to the infield on Sunday against the Cardinals or on Monday against the Tigers. Bautista made 45 starts at third base last season, and has 343 starts at the position in his career.

"It's going to take a few days, but I will be ready. I don't mind," Bautista said. "Whatever is best for the team."

What's best for his team -- or any team -- is run production from the corner positions. The club will be giving Eric Thames regular playing time in the outfield. Thames is hitting .286, with five extra-base hits and four RBIs in 14 games for the Blue Jays this season.

"He plays aggressive," Toronto manager John Farrell said. "He doesn't take a play off."

It will be up to St. Louis starter Kyle McClellan to keep the Toronto offense in check on Sunday. McClellan, who is making his third start since coming off the DL with a left hip flexor strain, has tinkered with his delivery in order to ease the stress on his hip. He also started throwing from the first-base side of the rubber.

"There [were] some things I had to change, as far as my thought process before I throw a pitch," he said. "I know what I'm trying to do with it from the third-base side of the rubber, and now that changes a little bit -- where I'm starting the ball, where I want it to finish, all that kind of stuff was more the change."

The converted reliever is still growing as a starter.

"When you come in and you're only pitching for one inning, it's easy to do whatever you have to do to get things where you want them at home plate," he said. "When you're stretching it out over five, six, seven, eight innings -- or stretching it out over a long period of time over the season -- it becomes harder to do those things for an extended period of time."

The Blue Jays will counter with Ricky Romero, who has quality starts in 12 of his 15 outings this season.

Blue Jays: Bautista heating up
• Bautista has three hits in seven at-bats against the Cardinals in this series. He came into St. Louis with six hits in his previous 23 at-bats.

• First baseman Adam Lind is hitting .319 since returning from the disabled list on June 4.

Cardinals: Wainwright set for big step
• Adam Wainwright will throw on Monday for the first time since undergoing season-ending Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow in February. He is scheduled to make 25-30 throws on flat ground.

• Kolten Wong, the Cardinals' first overall pick in the 2011 Draft, signed with the club on Saturday, and was at Busch Stadium for the Cardinals' game against the Blue Jays.

Worth noting
• The Blue Jays are 5-6 against the National League this season. They went 7-11 in Interleague Play last year.

• Bautista has reached base in 64 of his 69 games this season.

• The Jays are 21-21 on the road this season. Comments