Bautista also proudly proclaimed his sprained left wrist pain-free and good to go for 2013.
The right fielder, who leads the majors in home runs since 2010, underwent season-ending surgery in August to repair a tendon injured on the follow-through of a swing in mid-July. He said he is hitting in a batting cage five times a week, but has yet to face live pitching.
“We’re just waiting on that because we’re not in the middle of the season,” he said. “If we were in the middle of the season, I’d probably be playing in games right now.”
Bautista would love to be playing in meaningful games in March as a member of the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic, but the Jays have not yet given him clearance for the international competition.
“Obviously when you finish the season on the disabled list it’s natural for the organization to want to look after your best interests and your health and the team’s best interests,” he said. “I know everyone in the Dominican Republic wants me to play and I’m doing my best and I know the team is doing their best, too.”
If the Jays do allow Bautista to participate, the first four batters in the Dominican lineup could be identical to the top four that Jays manager John Gibbons will mark on his lineup card for opening day. Jose Reyes, Melky Cabrera and Edwin Encarnacion are all expected to be named to the Domincan roster.
“If it was up to me I’d go, but it’s not my decision,” Bautista said. “If the team believes I would be better off just staying at spring training and getting ready for that, then I will do that, but it is my desire to participate.”