HOUSTON -- The inaugural Jose Bautista charity golf tournament is scheduled to take place Thursday at the Eagles Nest Golf Club in Vaughan, Ontario.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the Bautista Family Education Fund and Jays Care Foundation, while Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Reyes, Brett Lawrie and J.P. Arencibia are among those who will be in attendance.
Bautista created the Bautista Family Education Fund two years ago with the goal of providing assistance to young amateur athletes by giving them access to higher education, but has seen it grow even more in recent months.
"It just got to the point where we felt like we could get more people involved, raise more funds and help more kids," Bautista said of the reasoning behind his latest initiative. "It's something that I wanted to do since I kind of established myself in the big leagues, and it's just that everything is kind of coming together now and it's a proper time to start doing more events. To start with the golf tournament I think is a good idea."
Bautista's path to the Major Leagues was very different from a lot of his fellow athletes from the Dominican Republic. He grew up in a middle-class household and had the luxury of turning down a small signing bonus as an amateur athlete in order to attend Chipola College in Florida, with his parents stressing the importance of receiving an education.
The same can't be said for a lot of youth growing up in the Dominican who have to jump at whatever chance they have at making money and pursuing the dream of professional baseball. One of the goals for Bautista's foundation is to break down some of those barriers and help the athletes not only on the field, but off of it as well.
Bautista knows all too well there are many examples of kids dropping out of school at an early age to play sports, then facing extreme hardships when the dream doesn't go according to plan.
"When they don't play sports, they have to start working at a very early age," Bautista said. "The ones that are fortunate enough to play sports and end up being good at them, most of the time, get pulled out of school to go to one of the boarding houses that host a lot of players and try to groom them into becoming the next professional baseball player.
"The success rate isn't all that great. From the kids that drop out of school, it's less than 3 percent, and the success rate after that 3 percent signs in professional baseball, it's about the same in getting to the big leagues and establishing themselves. A lot of kids do it because they don't have any other options. Sometimes they don't have enough money to even put themselves through the public school system. Attending classes is free, but a lot of the materials and uniforms you have to provide yourself, and some of their parents are so poor they don't even have money for that."
Bautista's education fund initially focused exclusively on youth in the Dominican Republic, but has since grown and recently assisted its first Canadian athlete as well. The mission is to provide support to athletes in a variety of sports played at the university level.
Standard ticket packages for the upcoming event include a cart for four players, all-inclusive food and beverage for the day, in addition to course contests, and access to live and silent auctions. Additional ticket options include the ability to guarantee a celebrity in the foursome.
The day will start with brunch at 11 a.m. ET before an afternoon of golf followed by an awards gala at night. Tickets can be purchased by visiting bautistagolf.eventbrite.com.
"[I'm] just figuring out a way to start to give kids some hope and another option of what they can do, instead of having that goal in mind 100 percent of the time with trying to become a professional athlete," Bautista said.
"It's something I look forward to doing in the future, and I think it's a good way to start by helping those that are close to get their college education and set an example for more kids to follow, and in the future, figure out a way to influence them and help them out early on in their lifetime."
Blue Jays set to recall Wang for spot start vs. Astros
HOUSTON -- Right-hander Chien-Ming Wang is set to re-join the Blue Jays on Saturday night to take the mound in a start against the Astros.
Wang had been considered the likely favorite to make the start, but it wasn't confirmed by the club until early Friday evening. It will mark his second stint with the Blue Jays this season after he made five starts in late June and early July.
The Blue Jays were in need of a starting pitcher because of a doubleheader against the Yankees earlier this week and another off-day not coming until Thursday.
"I think we're just going to need one start," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "That's the way it turned out with the doubleheader and then an off-day. He has been up here, he's a seasoned vet, he had some good starts for us, and he was doing fine down there. Everything kind of fell in line."
Wang got off to a relatively good start with the Blue Jays when he went at least 6 1/3 innings in each of his first three outings. The Taiwan native then struggled and lost his job after allowing 13 runs over just 3 1/3 innings in a pair of subpar starts.
The Blue Jays will have to open up a spot on their 40-man roster before Wang can officially be promoted from Triple-A Buffalo. A spot on the 25-man roster is already available because left- hander Aaron Loup was placed on the paternity list Friday afternoon.
Toronto could opt to find a player to designate for assignment, but a more likely scenario would be to transfer one of their injured players to the 60-day disabled list. Outfielder Melky Cabrera isn't expected to return this season, while right-hander Josh Johnson also could be done for the year, making both candidates to be transferred to the 60-day DL.
The 33-year-old Wang posted a 3.18 ERA in eight starts this season for Triple-A Buffalo. The Blue Jays opted to go with a veteran arm instead of choosing left-handed prospect Sean Nolin, who made a spot start earlier this year against the Orioles.
Goins gets two hits in debut close to Texas home
HOUSTON -- The Blue Jays opening game in Houston on Friday is one they'd like to forget, but the same can't be said for their newest infielder, Ryan Goins.
Goins made his Major League debut in the 12-4 loss, and while most of his team struggled, the 25-year-old turned in a 2-for-4 performance at the plate. He grew up in Round Rock, Texas -- a three-hour drive from Houston -- and he had more than 20 family members in attendance for his debut.
The first hit came in the seventh inning on a single to center, and he quickly followed up with a double in the ninth to cap a memorable night at Minute Maid Park.
"It was good to just get the first one out of the way in the first game," Goins said. "In my first at-bats, I felt good, and then finally getting a hit in the third one felt great.
"The first couple of pitches, you get a little excited, a little jumpy, and then you settle in after your first at-bat, I think."
The 25-year-old hit out of the ninth spot and got the start at second base, where he'll receive some time when Munenori Kawasaki needs a day off. The only downside of his debut is that he didn't get to touch the ball on defense, as no grounders headed his way.
Goins almost had an opportunity in fifth inning, when shortstop Jose Reyes fielded a tailor-made double play. But instead of handing the ball off to Goins, Reyes touched the bag on his own before throwing to first base.
Manager John Gibbons lifted Reyes in the bottom of the seventh inning, putting Kawasaki at second base and shifting Goins to shortstop.
"I was waiting for the first one, I was just waiting," Goins said with a laugh. "I thought Jose was going to flip me the double-play ball, and he took it himself. I was like, 'I need to get the ball at some point.'"
Goins received a promotion from Triple-A Buffalo on Thursday morning, when starting second baseman Maicer Izturis was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left ankle. Izturis has since started using a walking boot and is expected to miss a significant period of time, possibly the rest of the season.
That has opened the door for Goins, who will serve as a utility infielder. Goins hit .257 with 29 extra-base hits and a .311 on-base percentage in 111 games with the Bisons this season.
"[It was fun] just having a lot of family in town, a lot of people drove up, a lot of people I played with before," Goins said. "It was good to have everybody come to the game and made me feel comfortable out there."
Blue Jays option Lincoln after shaky outing in Houston
HOUSTON -- Right-hander Brad Lincoln was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo following the Blue Jays' 12-4 loss to the Astros on Friday night.
Lincoln pitched 1 1/3 innings of relief during the lopsided loss, allowing two runs on four hits and two walks. It marked the third consecutive outing in which Lincoln had surrendered at least one run.
Lincoln has a 3.98 ERA in 31 2/3 innings this season, striking out 25 and issuing an alarming 22 walks.
"He has been struggling lately," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He's had some good outings, and then lately he has been struggling."
The Blue Jays did not announce a corresponding roster move, but it will likely be another reliever to help an overly taxed bullpen that was forced to pitch 4 2/3 innings in the series opener. Right-hander Mickey Storey, who was optioned to Triple-A on Aug. 15, could be a candidate.
Left-hander Aaron Loup was placed on the paternity list Friday afternoon, and the Blue Jays have yet to announce a corresponding move for that as well. Right-hander Chien-Ming Wang will re-join the Blue Jays in time to make Saturday's start against the Astros, taking one of the two open spots.