DETROIT -- One of the most anticipated position switches this season could happen as early as Tuesday -- hopes Blue Jays manager John Farrell.
Jose Bautista has been fielding ground balls at third base for three days and will move from the outfield once he feels comfortable.
"What can't be overstated is Jose's willingness, and a complete team player, to go there as we've asked," Farrell said. "But out of respect to that, on his part, we've got to give him ample time to get his feet on the ground, get comfortable with the rhythm and the tempo of a ground ball."
Farrell said Bautista was worried about arm soreness moving from the outfield to third base and back. But Farrell said Bautista will stick at the hot corner for a while once he moves. Bautista is hitting .325 with 23 home runs this season, all from the outfield and designated hitter spots.
"The one thing that Jose was very clear on, which we completely understand and respect, is that when you go back and forth, and you change that throwing stroke, that's when the soreness can come into play," Farrell said. "As he's shortening up his arm stroke at third base, we'll be sure that we leave him there for an extended period of time and not bounce him back and forth."
Bautista played 48 games (making 45 starts) at third base last season, hitting .281 with 17 home runs and 40 RBIs. He has played the position in 343 games throughout his career and prepared there in Spring Training, but moving back to the position and being successful based on the past is not that simple.
"A lot can be said, 'Just put him back at third base because he's been a third baseman in the past,'" Farrell said. "He hasn't played there in nearly three months. That's something he's stated he'll be more comfortable with, and we'll grant that to him."