Jose Bautista on Blue Jays 2012 Season: “With the combination of our pitching and offense and new bullpen, everybody is really excited.”

February 20, 2012 – 9:30 am by Steven Cuce

Jose Bautista had his coming out party in 2010, smashing 54 home runs and driving in 124 runs. Last season many baseball officials were wondering if Bautista could duplicate his 2010 success and not just be a one-year wonder. The Blue Jays right fielder sure put all the doubters to bed by clubbing 43 home runs and driving in 103 runs.

Bautista still isn’t quite use to all the attention he receives, but sure appreciates all the love he is getting in Canada. This season the two-time defending American League home run champion knows he will spending his days at right field permanently, believing the Blue Jays are a contender in the American League East with their talented lineup and bolstered bullpen.

Jose Bautista joined The Fan 590 in Toronto with Brady and Lang to discuss handling the off-season attention as a superstar player, his off-season workout routine, playing right field exclusively this season, wanting the Toronto Blue Jays to acquire another bat to give him some protection in the lineup, and the Tampa Bay Rays being picked as the early favorite to win the American League East.

Has your off-season been different this season after being a superstar player for another season?

“Well it’s still been a lot. It’s overwhelming, but I feel humble about the opportunity I have been getting. I feel fortunate as well. Plus I’m always grateful for everything that has happened for me. With that being said I rather look at my focus on being ready for this season and preparing my body for the 162 long haul that we have ahead of us and all this time I have been ready to go, so I am excited.”

What does the home run king do in the off-season to keep those numbers up for next season?

“Well at first you gotta rest. You definitely need to let your body rest for a little bit and then you start your conditioning. You slowly get into the gym and just build that in durance. Once the new year comes around I really go after it pretty hard. I do two workouts a day and I think that gets me ready.”

Are things more settled for you position wise? You played some third base and right field?

“Oh yeah. I am supposed to be just in right field this year and Brett [Lawrie] is going to take over at third. I think that is going to be his [Brett Lawrie's] position to hold down for a number of years. I think everybody is excited about that. At the same time I think that is going to allow me to relax for a little bit and just focus on the thing that I need to do and not worry about a positional change and just be the best right fielder I can be.”

Did you want to see the Toronto Blue Jays acquire another bat in the off-season to give you some protection in the lineup?

“I mean I think anybody would. I think the team, the management, the ownership, everybody, but it’s gotta be done in a smart way where it doesn’t hinder the team moving onto the future. I think Alex [Anthopoulos] and ownership of the Blue Jays…they want to build a winner, but they want to be a contender for a number of years. Sometimes those are big contracts with long terms that get to be an obstacle for the long term success and they don’t want to sacrifice that. I am confident that we have a great group of guys and at the same time Alex? You never know what he is up to. He may be able to pull something out of his sleeve and we’ll see what happens. With the group of guys that we got right now if everybody does what they are capable of doing and remains healthy? I am pretty confident about our offense that we can put up some runs.”

People say the AL East is wide open. People are picking Tampa to win the division. You guys have stayed with them. You guys have proven you can stay with the big boys who have a big budget like the New York Yankees also:

“With Boston and the Yankees happens I think the best pitching rotation is going to have the best chance of beating them, so I think that is probably why the Rays are being picked as the early division winners just because they have the best pitching staff from the numbers or statistically looking at it. Mostly their offense is not as good as ours, but who knows what our pitchers are going to do? I mean if they can go out there and do what they can do, nobody does anything extraordinary, just pitch to their capabilities we are going to have a great year, so I think with the combination of our pitching and our offense and our new bullpen I think everybody is really excited.”

Listen to Jose Bautista on The Fan 590 in Toronto here [Interview leads off the podcast]

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