Blue Jays-Nationals postponed, so is Bautista’s return to OF
WASHINGTON (AP) Jose Bautista’s return to the Toronto Blue Jays outfield will have to wait at least one more day.
The interleague series opener between the Blue Jays and Washington Nationals on Monday has been postponed due to rain.
The teams will play a split-doubleheader Tuesday with the opener at 1:05 p.m. It will be their first matchup since 2012.
Toronto knuckleballer R.A. Dickey and Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, Monday’s scheduled starters, will pitch the opening game. Marco Estrada and Max Scherzer will take the mound for the 7:05 p.m. nightcap.
Toronto dropped its second straight game Sunday, falling 6-5 at Minnesota. The Blue Jays are 3-12 in one-run games this season and have lost seven of their last eight on the road.
Monday’s lineup included Bautista playing right field. Bautista has not played in the outfield since straining a shoulder April 21.
”He’s ready to go,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. ”It’ll be good to see him back out there.”
Asked if he expected cautious throws from Bautista, the manager said, ”I don’t know. He’s been cutting it loose pretty good. How many throws does an outfielder make in a game anyway? If he didn’t feel good enough, he wouldn’t be out there.”
Nationals slugger Bryce Harper leads the National League with 18 home runs. With Dickey on the mound, Gibbons revealed how he intends on contending with the power hitter.
”Knuckleballs,” he said with a laugh.
The NL East-leading Nationals went 18-9 in May, but finished the month with three straight losses at Cincinnati.
Bullpen woes played a part in the series sweep. Washington recalled LHP Felipe Rivero and optioned LHP Matt Grace to Triple-A Syracuse on Monday.
The extra day off may prove kind for Nationals centerfielder Denard Span. The leadoff hitter was out of Monday’s lineup after leaving Sunday’s loss with a sore right knee. Manager Matt Williams said the leadoff hitter was day to day.
Blue Jays: 3B Edwin Encarnacion and OF Kevin Pillar were of Monday’s starting lineup for rest.
Blue Jays: Dickey (2-5, 5.77 ERA) is 1-0 in his last two starts despite allowing nine earned runs. …Toronto has lost five straight with Estrada (1-3, 3.89 ERA) starting. His lone win came in relief at Boston on April 28.
Nationals: Zimmermann (4-2, 3.26) has not lost since April 18. … Scherzer (6-3, 1.51 ERA) is 4-0 with a 1.68 ERA in seven career starts against Toronto.