The Toronto Blue Jays will have a new leadoff hitter, for one day at least.
Right-fielder Jose Bautista was slotted in the top spot of the batting order for Wednesday’s game against the Texas Rangers. It’s the first time the slugger will bat first this season, after doing so 40 times in 2016.
Kevin Pillar, who’s been the primary leadoff hitter this season, was not in the lineup, with rookie Dwight Smith Jr. manning centre field and batting second.
Pillar has struggled mightily of late, hitting .159 with a .215 on-base percentage since May 20. Bautista is also enduring a tough stretch at the plate, slashing just .129/.239/.242 with 20 strikeouts in June. He responded well to the leadoff spot in 2016, posting a .341 on-base percentage to go along with nine home runs and 22 RBIs.