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Bautista homers in first game back since injury


DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Jose Bautista passed his first test of the spring with flying colors on Sunday afternoon by hitting a two-run homer against the Orioles.

Bautista was making his first appearance in a game since the Dominican native's 2012 campaign came to an end in late August with a left wrist injury.

Toronto's slugger had been insisting for most of the offseason that he will be completely ready to go for Opening Day, but in case there were any lingering doubts, he attempted to dispel those with a deep shot to left-center field.

"When there's something wrong with your body, you feel it," said Bautista, who went 1-for-3 with a pair of RBIs. "We're used to knowing what feels good and what doesn't.

"I've always felt like even though I was sore at the beginning and had to work getting my range of motion and strength back, I knew it was going to be fine because nothing felt out of place, weird, or funny. All of the pain that I had was strictly on the scar because of the surgery and all of that."

Bautista continues to monitor the wrist and performs daily exercises as recommended by the doctors, but doesn't expect the injury to resurface this spring. He's more focused on getting ready for the season, and in many ways this camp is just like any other.

The 32-year-old said he needs about 50 at-bats during the Grapefruit League season before his timing at the plate feels right. Bautista certainly didn't look out of sorts against the Orioles, but it's still going to take time before he feels completely comfortable.

"I need repetitions, just because I had good success doesn't mean anything," Bautista said. "But I felt good about all three of my at-bats. Even in my last one when I grounded out, I swung at two pitches in the zone aggressively.

"I think the last pitch I swung at, even though I didn't hit it that well, I tracked it well. It was just a back-up swinging slider. If the pitch would have done what [Daniel McCutchen] tried to do with it, I think I would have hit it better. It just backed up on him, didn't move as much, so jammed me a little it."

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