Bautista homers twice in rehab start

Blue Jays' slugger cranks grand slam in return to the Minors

By Ashley Marshall / Special to | August 23, 2012 7:11 PM ET

The last time Toronto's Jose Bautista stepped on a Double-A field, he was just a 24-year-old trying to stick with a big league organization.

A lot has changed since 2005, and the then-inexperienced rookie returned Wednesday night as one of the game's most feared sluggers.

Bautista went 2-for-4 with two homers, five RBIs and a walk in the New Hampshire Fisher Cats' 9-6 win over the New Britain Rock Cats.

He walked in the second inning before flying out to center field leading off the third. He hammered a one-out grand slam to left-center field in the fourth, and he struck out swinging to end the fifth. Bautista's effort was the third rehab grand slam in Fisher Cats history, joining Lyle Overbay and John Buck.

In the ninth, he added a solo homer to left field off of Edgar Ibarra. He also recorded one putout in right field.

Bautista, who hasn't played in the Majors since straining his left wrist during a game against New York on July 16, could return to the Blue Jays as early as tomorrow when the team continues its nine-day road trip with a series opener in Baltimore.

Bautista last played in the Minors in 2008, when he appeared in five games for the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians. But the last time he suited up for a Double-A affiliate came seven years ago when he played 117 games with the Altoona Curve.

He has totaled 419 Minor League games for eight teams between seven leagues and four organizations.

Selected by the Pirates in the 20th round of the 2000 Draft, Bautista came into the '05 campaign have bounced between four Major League organizations the previous season. In 64 big league games between Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Tampa Bay and Kansas City, he had recorded just three extra-base hits and no homers.

Fast-forward seven years to Thursday's Double-A outing and he has 183 longballs to his name, having led the American League in each of the past two seasons.

But Bautista was not the only New Hampshire batter to make history with the bat.

Brad Glenn, Ryan Goins, and Ryan Schimpf hit back-to-back-to-back homers in the fifth. It was just the second time -- the first since 2008 -- that New Hampshire strung together three consecutive homers.

Ashley Marshall is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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