Bautista: ‘Great honor' to be picked for HR Derby


Jose Bautista always knew he had a supporter in friend and countryman David Ortiz. Though their teams' cities, Toronto and Boston, are separated by over 500 miles and a stroll through customs, the Dominican-born players stay in touch throughout the course of the major league season. They make sure to place calls to each other, especially when the other is mired in a slump. They're buddies.

That's why it was special for Bautista to find out from Ortiz, the captain of the American League Home Run Derby squad, that he had been selected to compete in this year's home run competition after being snubbed last year.

"When he called me to do the Home Run Derby it was awesome," Bautista told CSN's Jessica Moran. "I know he was a big supporter of me last year and really wanted me to make it and unfortunately I didn't get asked. This year's different. He was in charge, and he called me first, and it was a great honor knowing that he wants me to be a part of the team."

Bautista, who had a chance to thank Ortiz in person with the Blue Jays in Boston for a three-game series, leads the American League in home runs with 27 and his .329 batting average is second behind only Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. The 7.4 million All-Star votes he garnered from fans is the most ever recorded.

"It's a great feeling," Bautista said. "It's amazing. I can't believe it sometimes. Somebody's gotta pinch me for me to come back to reality to comprehend what's going on. I've been getting a lot of great support from the fans, not only in the Dominican and Canada, but the States. People have been following my success, following my production and giving me the support."

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