Jose Bautista, a candidate for the American League MVP award, could move to third base from right field full-time as early as Tuesday, the Toronto Star reports.
Blue Jays manager John Farrell plans to make Bautista the everyday third baseman in an attempt to add another capable bat to the lineup, which has gotten virtually no offensive production at third base, and to get at-bats for some other outfielders.
Bautista, who is tied for the major league lead with 23 home runs, sounded neither enthusiastic about nor opposed to the move when asked Monday. But Farrell said Bautista would do what is best for the team.
"What can't be overstated is Jose's willingness as a complete team player to go there as we've asked," Farrell told the Star. "But out of respect to that approach on his part, we've got to give him ample time to get his feet on the ground, get feeling comfortable with the rhythm and the tempo of the ground ball."
Bautista lost a routine liner in the lights Monday, leading directly to the Jays' 4-2 loss to the Tigers. That was not the motivation behind asking Bautista to change positions, Farrell said, as Bautista began taking grounders at third over the weekend.
Bautista played a lot of third base before coming to Toronto in 2008. He has appeared in 357 games at third base and started 122 games at third base for the Pirates in 2007.
He last played third base in a game on Sept. 18.
"A lot could be said, 'Just put him back at third base, because he's been at third base in the past,'" Farrel told the Star. "He hasn't played there in nearly three months."