Blue Jays duo visits Cave Dwellers, Golf Club
Bautista, Encarnacion make splash hitting shots off fourth-floor perch
NEW YORK -- Now that's a different kind of batting practice.
Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion mixed business and pleasure Friday, when they brought their home run stroke to the Golf Club at Chelsea Piers. The two Blue Jays, clad in full uniform, sprayed golf balls and baseballs all over the place, and yes, they even hit the driving range cart.
Bautista and Encarnacion were invited to Chelsea Piers as part of a visit with the Fan Cave Dwellers, and they created a bit of a stir walking through the hallways. But their biggest impact was felt on the range, where they launched some tape-measure shots from the fourth-floor perch of the Golf Club.
"I might take batting practice off today," Bautista said later. "I think I'm ready to roll after that."
Bautista has led the American League in home runs on two occasions, and Encarnacion broke out with a 42-homer season for Toronto last year. The two players shared one bat and took turns feeding each other soft-toss with baseballs, drilling shots to the middle greens and off to the sides of the netting.
Later on, they began setting up golf balls on a tee and hitting them with bats. Bautista said he enjoyed that part the most, and he punctuated his swings with some PGA Tour level body language.
"Still right!" said Bautista, surveying the flight of one wayward ball. "It's like my golf swing."
This trip occurred hours before the Blue Jays were set to kick off their series against the Yankees, and Encarnacion and Bautista spent about an hour swinging and filming spots for the Fan Cave. The poor driving range cart was pelted at least twice with hits and another time by a thrown baseball.
One group of Toronto fans came upon Bautista and Encarnacion by chance at the Golf Club, and the pair also had a humorous interaction with a group of local golfers.
"You're going down tonight," said one obvious Yankee fan, and Bautista replied without breaking stride. "No chance," he said.
Bautista, who has reached the 40-homer plateau twice in his career, took delight in hitting the range cart Friday, and he said he hopes the exercise will have an effect on his eyesight this weekend.
"I hope it looks like a basketball," he said of baseballs thrown by Yankees pitchers. "I hope it doesn't look like a golf ball."
Bautista and Encarnacion, both natives of the Dominican Republic, took time out to meet the Fan Cave denizens after their range session, and they both said they enjoyed their practice round.
"I've never been at a golf spot hitting baseballs," said Encarnacion. "It was very nice. I enjoyed it."
"I've never done it before. It was a pretty cool experience," added Bautista of his time spent at Chelsea Piers. "We got to do some things we had never experienced before, and that's the whole point of these things. Just having fun and doing some weird stuff we've never done before. It was great."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.