Bautista's bat gives Blue Jays a boost in AL East

NOAH TRISTER AP Sports Writer Published:

DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) -- When Jose Bautista hit 54 home runs in 2010, more than tripling his career high, it was easy to dismiss his breakout season as a bit of a fluke.

Another year and 43 homers later, the Toronto right fielder has established himself as one of the game's top sluggers.

Four years after he was traded to Toronto for a backup catcher, Bautista will try for his third consecutive home run title this season. His rise to stardom is exactly the type of unexpected boost the Blue Jays need if they're going to compete with the New York Yankees, Boston and Tampa Bay in the American League East.