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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Danny Bautista had cannon for arm, saw bigs over 12 seasons

Danny Bautista 1990 Bristol Tigers card
Fayetteville Generals right fielder Danny Bautista had a cannon for an arm in 1992, according to The Fayetteville Observer.

Opposing runners kept testing it - and losing, The Observer wrote that June.

"You've got to be aggressive in this game," Bautista's manager Gerry Groninger told The Observer of why runners kept running into Bautista outs. "You're going to continue to make people prove they can do it. Danny continues to throw them out and I'm sure they're going to continue to test him."

Runners soon got to test Bautista's arm at higher levels. By 1993, they got to test his arm in the majors. Bautista went on to a major league career throwing out runners and scoring runs on his own that spanned 12 seasons.

Bautista topped more than 100 games played in three of those years and helped his team - the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks - win a world championship in one.

Bautista's career began in 1990, signed by the Tigers as a free agent out of his native Dominican Republic.  He attended Eliseo Argentia High School. Bautista is also credited by his formal name, Daniel Bautista.

Bautista started with rookie Bristol. He moved to Fayetteville for 1991 and 1992, then AA London for 1993. In September 1993, he made his debut in Detroit.

Bautista got into 17 games that first year, then 31 the next. In 1995, he moved to more of a regular role. He got into 89 games for the Tigers. He hit seven home runs and had a .203 average.

He moved to the Braves mid-1996, but lost a portion of the season to injury. A pitch hit him in the face and required surgery. He returned for 64 games in 1997 and 82 in 1998. That October, a Bautista error helped lead  to the Braves' Game 6 NLCS loss to the Padres.

Bautista played 1999 and the start of 2000 with the Marlins. He then moved to the Diamondbacks mid-2000 in a trade. The next year, he helped the Diamondbacks to the title

In Game 6 of the World Series, Bautista knocked in five runs on three hits after seeing limited playing time in the previous two games.

"I've been playing off the bench," Bautista told The New York Daily News afterward. "You've got to stay focused."

His sixth-inning double off Roger Clemens in Game 7 put the Diamondbacks on the board in a game they would go on and win.

Bautista continued with the Diamondbacks for three more seasons. He underwent shoulder surgery in 2002. In April 2004, he hit two home runs in a game where he picked up five hits and five RBI.

"I've got a lot of confidence back," Bautista told The Associated Press after that 2004 game. "We know we're a very good team."

Bautista tried coming back for 2005 with the Rays, but he didn't make it out of spring training before he retired.

Bautista's son Gerald Bautista has since gone on to a short professional career himself. Gerald Bautista has played four seasons, including 2016 in independent ball.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,415
Made the Majors: 989-41.0%-X
Never Made Majors:1,426-59.0%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 412
10+ Seasons in the Minors:248

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