First modification: 31/07/2021 – 04:10Last modification: 31/07/2021 – 04:08
Having José Bautista in the baseball of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is a luxury for manager Héctor Borg and his teammates in the Dominican Republic team.
Ángel Sánchez was dominant on the mound and Melky Cabrera hit the ball that drove the only run of the game, but Bautista was also key, like them, in the 1-0 victory obtained by the Dominican Republic against Mexico on Friday. A shot from him from the left field took out at home runner Isaac Rodríguez, extinguishing one of the most heated offenses of the ‘Tri’ in the commitment in Yokohama.
“We are very happy with that play. It really made a difference. He made an incredible shot,” Borg said at a press conference.
The Dominican Republic has a player in Bautista with the experience of having played 15 seasons in the Major Leagues, in which he shot 344 home runs and drove in 975 runs. He won the Silver Bat three times as an outfielder and was in the All-Star Game six times.
At his peak, with the Toronto Blue Jays, he led the Majors in home runs with 54 in 2010 and 43 in 2011.
– “Leadership” –
His record in the majors makes the 40-year-old Bautista feel a special responsibility in the dogout.
“I feel a responsibility for my career, for how long my career was, and I have to help young players like Julio (Rodríguez) and others that we have, who have a lot of talent, and do what I can to help them in their future. “he told AFP.
Rodríguez, 20 years younger than Bautista, is one of the most highly regarded young players in the Olympic tournament, Top-5 among prospects in 2021 according to the Major League Baseball (MLB) website ranking.
“Before he is a player, he is a tremendous person (…) and you have to take your hat off in front of him knowing the situation he has with his organization in the United States (the Seattle Mariners) to make himself available to us and play with the team . When the time touches him, it is a card that will not fail in the Major Leagues, “says Bautista about his promising teammate in the Dominican Olympic team.
“Bautista is a great hitter, a great defender and has great leadership ability. He is definitely a plus for us and we are very happy to have him on our team,” summarized Borg.
Dominicana debuted in Tokyo-2020 baseball with a 4×3 loss to host Japan in a game that the locals won with a three-run cluster in the ninth inning. He reacted later with his victory against Mexico.
– Medal option –
“If you ask me or any of the team members, we would not have made this trip to Japan if we did not feel that we have a chance to win a medal,” Bautista answered in a mixed zone after the premiere on the possibilities of the Dominican Republic, the country. that exports the largest number of players to the Big Top.
Only six Dominican athletes have won medals at the Olympic Games: athletes Félix Sánchez (gold in 2004 and 2012 in the 400 meters hurdles) and Luguelín Santos (silver in the 400 meters in 2012), boxers Pedro Julio Nolasco (bronze in 1984) and Félix Díaz (gold in 2008) and the taekwondo players Gabriel Mercedes (silver in 2008) and Luisito Pié (bronze in 2016).
Bautista likes the experience of being an Olympian in Japan, a country where, he says, baseball feels like the Caribbean, although he regrets that Covid-19 brings empty stadiums. “I am delighted to be here,” he says.
Baseball is back in Tokyo-2020 after being shut out in London-2012 and Rio de Janeiro-2016. It will be out again in Paris-2024, but it is expected to return in Los Angeles-2028.
© 2021 AFP