7/28/2013 7:30 P.M. ET
DeRosa reflects on career after 100th homer
By Evan Peaslee / MLB.com
TORONTO -- As Mark DeRosa rounded the bases on Saturday for the 100th home run of his Major League career, his thoughts immediately turned to his late father, Jack.
"It meant more to me than people will ever realize," DeRosa said. "I wish my dad could've been here. I know he would be proud -- that was the first thing I thought of.
"I didn't think I'd get to that number after I hurt my wrist and [didn't hit] a home run for three years. And not knowing if you'd be serviceable enough to stay in the big leagues not driving the baseball. I'm proud of the fact that I was able to hang around long enough for it to correct itself, and to do it. But I thought about my dad."
On a cutter from Houston starter Dallas Keuchel, the Blue Jays infielder sent the ball into the bullpen in left field for his seventh home run of the year and reached the century mark for his career.
After clearing the fences only once since 2010, the homer became even more special.
"I drove down to [Spring Training in Dunedin, Fla.] not knowing what I was going to be like," DeRosa said. "So to hit my 100th homer, and to feel like it matters when I'm in the lineup, means a lot."
The 38-year-old was bit of a late bloomer when it came to power numbers. DeRosa hit 44 of his home runs in a span of two years, mostly with the Cubs, in 2008 and '09 when he was in his 30s.
After that nice run, the power numbers dried up, thanks in large part to surgery to repair a torn tendon sheath in his left wrist in 2010, something that he later said was a "total failure."
Thus for the veteran, this milestone is more than just a number.
"For me, more redemption from being hurt, losing my dad, and that type of stuff, and staying with it," DeRosa said. "So when I rounded the bases, I don't know if they time it, but I know I took a little bit longer than I normally do. I feel like I owed it to myself.
"And for my dad. My dad was a proud man. He always wanted me to get my respect in the game. He was big on respect. I feel like that number, although small to some people, others who have played in the league a long time know that it's a milestone for hitters."
Bautista tossed in seventh for arguing strike call
TORONTO -- Jose Bautista was ejected from the Blue Jays' 2-1 victory over the Astros on Sunday for arguing balls and strikes with home-plate umpire Sam Holbrook.
In the seventh inning with men in scoring position, Bautista struck out swinging against Houston reliever Josh Fields. The Toronto slugger said something to Holbrook immediately afterwards and was promptly ejected from the game.
"It wasn't a conversation," said Bautista, who was tossed for the second time this season. "I said, 'I thought you had the biggest bleep strike zone I've seen all year.' And that was it. I was out of the game."
The Blue Jays right fielder was clearly upset with a previous pitch on the inside part of the plate. Fields threw a fastball down and in and Bautista immediately walked away from the batter's box after Holbrook called it a strike. He took his time returning to the plate struck out on the following pitch.
"What I need to do is stay in the games and realize that, unfortunately, even though I would love for right calls to be made consistently, that's just not going to happen, and I need to deal with it," Bautista said. "It's tough for me."
Just like his first ejection on June 9 against the Rangers, Bautista was ejected for arguing the strike zone.
It's become an issue for the slugger, and he is beginning to build a reputation for disputing umpires' strike zones.
Earlier in the season, Bautista remarked that "sometimes I have trouble more than other players dealing with my production being affected by somebody else's mediocrity."
Whether or not that's affected the calls he's getting, it's clear the he's still having trouble agreeing with what the home-plate umpire sees.
"I've been trying to control myself as much as I can," Bautista said. "But it is something that I'm not as good at as other players. I struggle with it. I play with a lot of heart and emotion and I always try to come through for us. When I don't, it upsets me. If I fail on my own, it upsets me. If I feel like some opportunities are being taken away from me, it upsets me even more.
With the ejection, Bautista left his club in a tie ballgame, leading manager John Gibbons to think that maybe the slugger needs to bite his tongue a little more.
"Yeah, stay in the game," Gibbons said. "I understand the frustration, that's the way it goes, but we need him on the field. He's a big part of our team and we need him on the field."
Veteran lefty Oliver still searching for first ring
TORONTO -- The sun is beginning to set on Darren Oliver's professional career.
After coming back for one final chance at a World Series title, Oliver's ride into the sunset isn't going the way that he, or anybody, had hoped.
"It could be better," Oliver said of his final season. "I was thinking that we were going to win more games than we'd lost.
"I just think that everybody expected more; obviously, we expected more from ourselves. We expected to be right there in the race at this point in the season, and we're not. I think the guys are definitely disappointed about that."
Barring a trade in the coming weeks, it looks more and more like the 42-year-old will walk away from the Majors without that coveted ring.
After nearly 1,900 innings and more than 1,200 strikeouts in a career that began 20 years ago, it's the one thing that is missing from his resume.
"I've done all that stuff before. The main thing was just to win," Oliver said. "I've been to the World Series a couple of times, but to win it is the ultimate thing."
Oliver was a part of the Rangers in 2010 and '11 when they were close to obtaining the title, and finally getting a chance to win one was a big factor in the left-hander's return to the Blue Jays in '13.
"It all comes down to how we do on the field," Oliver said. "There's some guys who have good years, some guys have bad years, or whatever. When you look back on it, when it's all said and done and you're at home doing nothing, you want to remember that I was part of a championship team."
Whether or not that happens is still yet to be determined, but there's one thing by which Oliver wants to be remembered. Not by his wins and losses, or his strikeouts, but by his presence in the clubhouse.
"That I was a good teammate. That's important, for me," Oliver said. "That I passed on everything that I've learned in the game to some of the younger guys on and off the field. And they remember that ... and they pass it on to someone else."