CLEVELAND -- He might not be an imposing physical specimen with bulging biceps and supreme athletic ability, but his 31 homers before the All-Star break speak for themselves.
Toronto's Jose Bautista has evolved into baseball's most dangerous power hitter. He might not get the proper recognition, as he plays his home games in another country and suits up for the fourth-place team in the American League East. Nonetheless, Indians manager Manny Acta has taken notice of just how locked in Bautista is at the plate.
"He doesn't miss these pitches. He's not fouling them off," Acta said. "Right now, he's reminding me of the way Barry Bonds was when he was in his prime. You make a mistake, and he won't foul them off. He just hits it out. He won't even hit it off the wall or anything like that. It's pretty impressive."
Indians closer Chris Perez got a first-hand taste of the surge Bautista is riding, serving up the game-winning homer to the Blue Jays slugger in the 10th inning on Saturday.
"He's not hitting 1.000, so obviously he has weaknesses," Perez said. "He just doesn't miss his pitches. You have to stay away from him. He hits everything inside right now, and if you leave anything over the plate, he's not fouling it back. He puts a good swing on it and hits it into the stands or makes a loud out."
Entering the 2010 campaign, Bautista's career high for homers in a season was 16, with the Pirates in 2006. Then he belted 54 last year to lead the Major Leagues.
His 31 are the most before the All-Star break in franchise history.
"You're trying to make pitches, and as soon as you miss, he hits it over the wall," Acta said. "He doesn't get cheated. You don't catch him checking swings or anything like that. It's remarkable what he's doing.
"The way he's going right now, he doesn't even foul off pitches. He just squares up and hits them out."