The Pirates' starting third baseman most of the past two years was visibly stunned after general manager Neal Huntington and manager John Russell had informed him last night, in Russell's office, that he was being optioned to Class AAA Indianapolis. The move will clear space for first baseman Adam LaRoche to come off the disabled list today.
I'd be stunned, too, if I were him. Bautista is stretched as a starter, but he's a perfectly good utility player on a team that has Luis Rivas on its bench. This may be a numbers game, and Bautista may be back in a few days when management is confident that Jack Wilson is fully ready to go. (Shortstop is one of the few positions Bautista can't play, so if Wilson is on the roster but not able to start, it creates a roster crunch.) Of course, that's not how Neal Huntington makes it sound:
"Given our recent acquisitions and the current roster composition, we decided the most appropriate move was to option Jose," Huntington said. "We will make the determination at a later date with respect to a September callup, but much of the decision is within his control."
This makes it sound as if the issue is some sort of attitude problem. Again, weird.
In any case, I'm happy that Steve Pearce is still with the team. But the bench now has four players in their thirties on it, plus Rivas, and one would think the Pirates would be better served with Bautista, who's younger and possibly better than any of them.