Target Field no challenge for Bautista

Target Field no challenge for Bautista

Target Field no challenge for Bautista
MINNEAPOLIS -- Target Field hasn't proved much of a challenge for Jose Bautista thus far in his career, and the Blue Jays' slugger could be using this weekend's series to get back on track after a slow start to 2012.

Bautista homered twice on Friday night, giving him nine home runs in nine games at the Twins' ballpark, which opened in 2010. To put that number in perspective, Minnesota's Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau have combined for seven home runs in 213 games in their home park.

But Bautista said Friday that he doesn't think Target Field itself has much to do with his crazy power numbers in Minnesota.

"I guess it's just a pitching staff that throws strikes and tries to challenge you, and at the times that I've come here, maybe I've been swinging a hot bat. I mean, [Thursday] they still challenged me and I didn't get any hits," Bautista said. "That just shows you it depends on how I'm swinging the bat, and there's nothing about this stadium in particular."

Last year, Bautista was hitting .350 with 11 home runs when the Blue Jays visited Minneapolis for a mid-May series. Three games later, he'd added five home runs to his season total -- including three in the series finale -- and bumped his season average to .368 after going 7-for-14 against Twins pitching.

Thursday night, Bautista went 0-for-3 with a strikeout before going 2-for-5 on Friday, leaving his season average at .186. He may have broken through with the two home runs off Nick Blackburn, but he said he's been feeling better at the plate since the Blue Jays' current road trip started on May 3 at Anaheim.

"Two home runs don't mean anything -- I've felt like I've had good at-bats and bad at-bats since we've been on this road trip, but for the most part I've been seeing the ball better and today was just one of those days where I see the results," Bautista said. "There's been other days where I've squared up three or four balls and had some good at-bats and had some breaks not go my way and go 0-for-4."