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"Li'l Bautista" receives opening pitch honors

"Li'l Bautista" receives opening pitch honors

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A familiar face was on the mound for Friday night's first pitch prior to the Blue Jays' matchup with the Yankees, but a closer glimpse revealed not an All-Star outfielder, just a fan who has taken on the likeness of Jose Bautista. Seven-year-old Curtis Hopkins of Acton, Ontario, dubbed "Lil' Bautista", took the hill for the ceremonial toss.

Hopkins appeared before the Rogers Centre crowd in full likeness of the Blue Jays' slugger, including a painted beard, sunglasses and his Blue Jays uniform. Hopkins also mimicked the hard-throwing outfielder by throwing a high lob to an outstretched Ricky Romero.

Hopkins' appearance came prior to the second consecutive game in which Baustista was held out with an ankle injury. The injury is not expected to sideline the current Major League home run leader for an extended period of time, but manager John Farrell hinted that Bautista may be out at least until Tuesday when Toronto begins a three-game series against the Mariners.

Jon Star is a reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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