Mike Bianucci may be changing his ways, but his power remains the same.
The Rangers farmhand homered for the third straight game Saturday night, powering the Triple-A Round Rock Express to a 7-2 victory over the Iowa Cubs at Principal Park.
Bianucci wasted no time extending his season-opening streak, clearing the left-center field fence on the third pitch he saw from Iowa starter Chris Rusin in the second inning. He also singled in a run in the sixth.
"It's just one of those stages where the ball looks so big and you want to write things down so that when you're struggling you can go back to what was going good," Bianucci said. "Right now, it's my timing, getting my foot down and I'm not missing good pitches, which is good right now."
Drafted in 20xx as a third baseman, Bianucci spent most of last season as a designated hitter. This year, he's making the journey across the diamond at the suggestion of the Major League club.
"For me, it's always been my defense," Bianucci said. "It's always been a question of 'where can he play.' Just going at it day by day. I'd say that it was around December and they asked if I'd be open to it. Whatever it takes to make them happy, I'm all for. It's a little different in terms of back up bases and [cutoffs] and relays, it's been OK so far. But it's been a work-in-progress."
After a breakout campaign in which he slugged 30 homers for Double-A Frisco and earned Organizational All-Star honors, Bianucci has carried that over to the Pacific Coast League. The 25-year-old is batting .417 with three homers and five RBIs after going deep in an exhibition game against the Rangers on April 2.
"Last year, I started out strong, but it wasn't as consistent. And that's what I'm going to try and shoot for," Bianucci said. "Just try to stay consistent and not have the slumps like I did last year."
Leonys Martin, the Rangers' No. 4 prospect, went 3-for-5 with a run scored, while No. 9 prospect Neil Ramirez struck out six and allowed a run on two hits over four innings for the Express.
Brett Jackson, MLB.com's No. 33 prospect, was 2-for-4 with two runs scored in a losing effort for Iowa.