SIMMONS: Bo Bichette believing in himself and beleaguered Blue Jays, not worried about future

“Worrying about the future right now is not going to help me in a positive way at all in my current situation.”

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A quietly defiant Bo Bichette looks around the Blue Jays clubhouse after being swept at home by the Red Sox and insists that all will be well with the last-place team.

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And Bichette knows or believes he knows that all will be well with himself, currently on the injured list, experiencing the weakest half season of his otherwise-remarkable six-year career.

“It’s going to come back,” Bichette said in a 1-on-1 interview Wednesday night. “It’s still a long season. We haven’t played as individuals as how we’re expected to. And definitely not as a team. You want to win every day and that’s what you come here to do and you’re trying to figure out how to make that happen and it’s frustrating when you don’t.

“There’s so many players in here that are incredibly talented. That have everything it takes to not just be a part of a team that can win, but be a leading force in doing that. We obviously haven’t found it so we need to keep on searching.”

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That is the great contradiction between players and the public that never changes: Athletes believe. The public, on cue, has every reason to doubt.


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But if anyone should be all right, based on personal history, it should be Bichette. He should be the one Blue Jay you don’t have to worry about.

Except you have to worry about him this season

It is rather easy to have little faith in this rather unlikable Blue Jays team. Collectively, they are having a horrendous season — there’s no way around saying that.

They don’t have a style or an identity other than of a team that isn’t good enough. First and second place disappeared from their regular-season radar weeks ago. Now in a wild-card race that doesn’t really seem like one, the Jays were swept at home by the Sox and are 5 1/2 games and three teams behind for a playoff spot.

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Bichette is in a race of his own. He thinks he’s ready to play right now, but probably won’t come off the injured list with his sore right calf until Tuesday in Boston, which would give him some 84 games left in the season to find his way — and maybe find the Blue Jays way.

He practices daily and thinks he’s ready to play now — and can’t wait to play.

Winning makes life easier. It makes individual performances easier. It makes the environment better. We’re definitely grinding and trying to figure it out. And it’s been hard.

Bo Bichette

“No matter what happens with me, personally, I never lose faith,” he said. “I know that I’m a really good player. I know that. And I show up at the end. I have the same belief as well with this team.

“Winning makes life easier. It makes individual performances easier. It makes the environment better. We’re definitely grinding and trying to figure it out. And it’s been hard.”

Bichette talks to his dad, former big leaguer Dante Bichette, regularly throughout the baseball season. He always has. Probably always will. The advice is typical baseball advice: The season is long. Stay with it. Stay at it. And let your talent take over.

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“It’s baseball,” Bichette said. “I’ve been through slumps before and I’ve always come out on top. All I’m worried about right now is the day to day and to be as best prepared as I can. These are things you’re going to deal with and they’re not necessarily acceptable in my mind but it’s part of it. I have no doubts I’ll come out of it.”

Bichette was a career .299 hitter coming into this season, around a 24 home run hitter most years, who twice has led the American League in hits: His career offensive numbers are rather similar to Hall of Fame shortstop Cal Ripken.

This year, inexplicably, he’s hitting .237 with almost no power. He’s 39th in the AL in hits, last year he was fourth. The two years before that, he was first. His OPS is .628. His career average is .806.

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His numbers are so off that they seem to lie and not lie all at the very same time, which makes this Blue Jays season more difficult to comprehend. You are, as many have said, what your record says you are.

That’s last place for the Jays. That’s way back for Bichette, who is thinking only about this season and coming back to play — and not anything about the future.

That will take care of itself over time, he figures. What happens next year — what happens with contract talks or possible long-term extensions or maybe free agency or belief in the team direction — is something that will happen later.

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That’s a lot of innings away. There’s too much to do and think about now than to have the future hanging around with him as well.

He’s clear about that.

“I think it’s a reality of the situation,” Bichette said. “Not just for me, but for a few guys (including Vladimir Guerrero Jr). Worrying about the future right now is not going to help me in a positive way at all in my current situation.

“So I just have to continue to be ready. And I think about today. And that’s all I can do.”

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