April 5, 2011
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A's (1-2) vs.
TORONTO (AP) -- Jose Bautista may have enjoyed the best season of his career in 2010, but it hardly came at the expense of the Oakland Athletics.
Bautista is already off to a strong start in 2011 and will try to reverse his woes against the Athletics when the Toronto Blue Jays open a three-game home series Tuesday night.
The slugger had career highs of a .260 average, a major league-leading 54 homers and 124 RBIs last season. His .115 average against Oakland (1-2) was his worst against an AL opponent, and he had one homer and two RBIs in seven meetings.
NEWS: MLB scoreboard
Bautista is 5 for 11 with two solo homers this season, but he and the Blue Jays don't want to be too reliant on the long ball. Toronto (2-1) has homered six times in its two wins and once in its loss, Sunday's 4-3 defeat to Minnesota.
"We have more tools now; we have more versatile guys," Bautista told the Blue Jays' official website. "We can run and do more stuff."
One of the players added to provide speed is Rajai Davis, who has missed the last two games with a right ankle injury. Davis, though, expects to return Tuesday to face the team he spent his previous two-plus seasons with before being traded to the Blue Jays in the offseason.
Davis was third in the majors in steals with 50 for Oakland in 2010.
Merely putting the ball in play could be a good way to have success against the Athletics, who committed seven errors over the weekend in losing two of three at home to Seattle.
"Our defense has been stinking up the field and the clubhouse," center fielder Coco Crisp said.
REWIND: A's overcome defense to defeat Mariners
Oakland first baseman Daric Barton has three errors to match Toronto third baseman Edwin Encarnacion for the most in the majors.
The A's are beginning a nine-game trip. Oakland went 34-47 on the road a season ago, and knows it must improve to seriously challenge AL champion Texas in the West.
"Playing on the road is obviously more difficult than playing at home, but our guys have played together awhile now, and I think the experience they've gained will help them," manager Bob Geren told Oakland's official website. "We do need to do a better job on the road, that's for sure."
Geren will give Brandon McCarthy his first start with the A's - and first since Oct. 2, 2009. McCarthy was limited to 22 starts over the past three seasons because of shoulder problems, but earned a spot in the rotation in spring training.
"It's a pretty solid rotation I'm joining, and it's exciting to know I have to do my part to hold up my end of the bargain," McCarthy said.
The right-hander is 3-2 with a 3.95 ERA in five starts against Toronto.
RELATED: Brandon McCarthy's player page
The Blue Jays will counter with JoJo Reyes, making his AL debut. Reyes spent his previous four seasons with Atlanta, and made one appearance for the Braves last season as he spent most of it in the minors.
One of the left-hander's five career wins came against Oakland, when he gave up two runs in five innings in a 5-2 victory May 18, 2008.
Toronto won four of seven against Oakland last season.
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