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Encarnacion turning it around in May again

Last year, Blue Jays slugger hit 16 homers in second month after slow start
MLB.com @gregorMLB

TORONTO -- It must be that time of the year again because Edwin Encarnacion is starting to heat up at the plate. The Blue Jays can only hope that continues through the entire month of May like it did in 2014.

Encarnacion got off to a slow start for the second consecutive year, but last season he more than made up for a disappointing April by posting borderline ridiculous numbers in May.

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TORONTO -- It must be that time of the year again because Edwin Encarnacion is starting to heat up at the plate. The Blue Jays can only hope that continues through the entire month of May like it did in 2014.

Encarnacion got off to a slow start for the second consecutive year, but last season he more than made up for a disappointing April by posting borderline ridiculous numbers in May.

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The 32-year-old could follow a similar trend this year after hitting a key three-run homer in Saturday's 7-1 win over the Red Sox. Encarnacion has reached base in 11 consecutive games and has at least one hit in all but one of his previous eight contests.

"I've been seeing the ball better, I've been making the adjustment and looking for my pitch," Encarnacion said. "I haven't been swinging at too many pitches out of the strike zone and I've been looking for my pitch and I haven't been missing it."

Last May, Encarnacion took the baseball world by storm after hitting .281 with 16 home runs, 33 RBIs and a 1.132 OPS in 30 games. The 16 homers tied an American League record for May that had belonged only to Mickey Mantle.

This year, the Blue Jays are still waiting for that big outburst of power, but everything else seems to be coming together. Encarnacion's homer off Joe Kelly on Saturday came on a hanging 1-2 curveball and snapped a streak of 16 games without going deep.

The power hasn't been consistent but the average is starting to increase. He finished April hitting .202, but has a .239 average after going 15-for-42 over his last 11 games. He also seems to be taking a more patient approach as evidenced by a walk in the first when he was able to stay back on borderline pitches just off the plate.

Video: BOS@TOR: Gibbons on Encarnaction's home-run, Jays win

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons felt that Encarnacion might have been pressing earlier, but there have been no signs of that lately.

"I do think early on in the season he was probably too aggressive," Gibbons said. "One thing that makes him stand out, he's a lot like [Jose] Bautista, for guys who hit a lot of home runs, they don't strike out much. That's what separates them from most power hitters.

"But what happens is when guys get off to a slow start, they try to force it, they try to swing their way out of it, sometimes that can work against you, especially a guy like him because it's the opposite reason why he's had so much success."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB.

Toronto Blue Jays, Edwin Encarnacion