Blue Jays reveal alternate uniforms, Bautista celebrates return to Toronto
The country's only major league baseball team is getting in on the 150th birthday celebrations with their red and white "Canadiana" kits.
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Toronto Blue Jays fans will be seeing red this season.
The Jays revealed their alternate “Canadiana” uniforms Friday morning, a red and white colour scheme that’s already familiar to fans.
The team said players will wear the red for every Sunday home game throughout the season, as well as several games during Canada’s 150th birthday month in July.
“I’ve always been a fan of the red jerseys,” said stud starter Aaron Sanchez in a press release. “I’m glad we got them in the rotation. We know we play for an entire country, so it’s nice to have a uniform that acknowledges our fans from across Canada.”
The Jays will have an official unveiling at the Rogers Centre later today.
Joey Bats Is Back
Meanwhile, returning slugger Jose Bautista – who was a conspicuous absence from this week’s press conference with GM Ross Atkins – fired up Instagram to celebrate re-signing in the city where he became a star.
The former free agent outfielder signed a one-year deal worth $18 million this week. The contract includes a $17-million mutual option year for 2018 and a $20-million vesting option for 2019.
The deal comes after an injury-plagued season for Bautista, who was very vocal about his future contract demands in the spring. All that time on the shelf took a serious toll on his production at the plate, where he hit for .234 with 22 home runs and 69 RBI. He finished the 2015 season with 40 dingers and 114 RBI.
Atkins, however, believes Jays fans will be treated to more familiar production from Bautista this year.
“I think he’s capable of doing what he’s done year in and year out,” Atkins said Thursday. “The player that he was that made him a six-time all-star, a guy that has certainly been one of the best hitters in baseball.”
Lineup Still Not Finalized
With the Bautista situation resolved, a potential hole in right field has been filled and the Jays front office is free to focus on other vacancies on the roster.
Chief among them is finding more help for the bullpen and a steadying presence in left field, where Melvin Upton Jr., Ezequiel Carrera, Dalton Pompey and Darrell Ceciliani are all vying for the role.
However, the aging Jays face a much tougher AL East this season after making two consecutive ALCS appearances. The Boston Red Sox have bulked up considerably while the up-and-coming New York Yankees made splash when they signed flamethrowing closer Aroldis Chapman.
“It’s always going to be an animal, the AL East is always going to be that way.” Atkins said of the high-powered division.
“But I feel like we’re going to be competitive and right in the thick of it.”
The 2017 Blue Jays season kicks off on April 3 when the team opens a two-game against the Orioles in Baltimore.