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Bautista's temper gets him tossed

Jays slugger admits struggle to stay cool

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Umpire Sam Holbrook runs Jose Bautista from the game after the slugger questioned his strike zone Sunday.

FRED THORNHILL / REUTERS Enlarge Image

Umpire Sam Holbrook runs Jose Bautista from the game after the slugger questioned his strike zone Sunday.

TORONTO -- After being ejected for arguing balls and strikes, Jose Bautista said after the Blue Jays' victory Sunday over the Houston Astros that he's trying to control his emotions.

Bautista was thrown out of Sunday's 2-1 win after arguing a called strike that led to a strikeout in the seventh inning. Bautista had barely stepped away from the batter's box when home-plate umpire Sam Holbrook ejected him.

"I said, 'I thought you have the biggest bleep strike zone that I've seen all year,' and that was it," Bautista said. "I was out of the game."

Though it was just Bautista's second ejection of the season, his propensity to argue with umpires may have earned him something of a reputation. It's a problem the all-star outfielder has said he's working on.

"I'm always looking to hold it in when I think a bad call is made," Bautista said. "I'm always looking to stay in games. I'm always looking to try to do something good for the team. I'm always looking to try to help us win the game. I'm not trying to strike out, I'm not trying to get ejected and I'm not trying to not come through in that big situation."

Bautista had popped out, flied out and grounded out before coming up in the seventh with a runner in scoring position. After falling behind 1-2 on two called strikes, Bautista swung and missed a pitch that he knew was a ball.

"There's things that are out of my control that make or put you in better or worse situations when it comes to at-bats and counts," he said. "I'm just trying to make contact. Either my eyes are deceiving me or I just don't have a good feel for the strike zone right now. I swung at a ball and struck out, and that's the bottom line."

Manager John Gibbons came out to have some words with Holbrook, but he would have preferred that Bautista just walked away instead.

"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."

Bautista is hitting .251 with 24 home runs and 64 RBI this season. He was one of four Toronto players in the all-star game.

Bautista said it's "impossible" to know whether he's being targeted by umpires because of his reputation. The work he needs to do is independent of calls made on the field.

"I've been trying to control myself as much as I can, but it is something that I'm not as good at as other players," Bautista said. "I struggle with it.

"I play with a lot of heart and emotion and I try to always come through for us. When I don't, it upsets me. If I fail on my own, it upsets me, and if I feel like some opportunities are being taken away from me, it upsets me even more."

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 29, 2013 C5

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