Jose Bautista to Make Phillies Starting Debut Against Nationals

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By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

Barely just one day since joining the Philadelphia Phillies following a trade with the New York Mets, 15-year veteran and six-time All-Star outfielder Jose Bautista will make his club starting debut — batting sixth as the right fielder — in the series finale against southpaw Gio Gonzalez and the Washington Nationals Wednesday evening at Citizens Bank Park.

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The Phillies acquired Bautista, 37 — for a player to be named later or cash considerations — in another attempt to bolster the club's bench for a postseason run. Baustita is the club's firth such veteran acquisition over the past few weeks, joining Asdrubal Cabrera, Justin Bour and Wilson Ramos.

Bautista struck out swinging in a pinch-hit appearance on Tuesday, his first-career plate appearance in red pinstripes. Through 12 career plate appearances against the Nationals' Wednesday starter, Gonzalez, specifically, the Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, native is just 1-9 with two walks and two strikeouts. The Phillies regular everyday right fielder in Nick Williams went 1-2 in two prior plate appearances opposite the southpaw.

The Phillies are opting to go with the right-handed option in Bautista, who understands the postseason chance, given his 20 combined American League Wild Card, Division and Championship series appearances with the Toronto Blue Jays between 2015 and 2016.

Bautista is just the third player ever to play for three teams within the same division in the same season, joining Bob Reynolds (1975) and Kelly Johnson (2014), according to The Athletic's Meghan Montemurro.

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