TORONTO - Edwin Encarnacion will take batting practice before Friday's series opener against the Orioles, a crucial test for his ailing left wrist.
After hitting off a tee on Thursday afternoon, the Blue Jays' slugger is confident of an imminent return to the lineup.
“Maybe Saturday, maybe (Friday), depends on how I feel,” said Encarnacion.
Encarnacion last played on Saturday in Minnesota. After the game, an 11-2 win over the Twins, he was seen entering manager John Gibbons' office with his wrist wrapped in ice.
The pain intensified over the past couple of weeks. Encarnacion is hitless in his last 12 plate appearances (0-8 with three walks and a sacrifice fly.)
Encarnacion has already secured a second-consecutive 100-RBI season. With 36, he is four home runs shy of a second-straight 40-home run year.
Rasmus feeling good
Day by day, Colby Rasmus is ramping up his workouts and baseball activities in anticipation of a weekend return against Baltimore.
“Feeling good; the body feels good,” said Rasmus. “I think I'm getting over the soreness a little bit, getting back on the turf and amping up the swings. Like today, I took pretty much game speed swings and it felt good so we'll go from there.”
Rasmus went on the disabled list on August 11 with a strained left oblique. He suffered a setback during rehabilitation, which is common with his type of injury.
“It's definitely a tough injury because it's hard to tell,” said Rasmus. “It's something you use everyday so it's hard to shut those muscles down to let them heal. I told myself when I got hurt and I was going down there that I'm going to try to take a mental break. That way if I was able to come back I'd be fresh.”
It's expected Rasmus will get the bulk of the playing time in centre field when he returns.
Gibbons will use the other two outfield spots to parcel out playing time to Anthony Gose, Rajai Davis, Moises Sierra and Kevin Pillar.
Buehrle on Albers
Mark Buehrle watched closely as Canadian lefthander Andrew Albers started for the Twins against the Blue Jays on Sunday.
The two have been compared due to their low-velocity, finesse styles.
“He throws more fastballs than I do,” said Buehrle. “He throws a bit harder. Similarities: It seems like he works quick; he was pumping, filling up the strike zone, getting strikes early. Guys were kind of off balance and that's the name of the game. It doesn't matter how hard you throw, it's keeping guys off balance and then hitting your spots and as far as that aspect goes, I think he did pretty well.”
Buehrle stressed that his observations were based only on Albers' start against the Jays. He hasn't seen footage of Albers' other work.
“His off-speed, his curveball, it seemed like he didn't throw many for strikes,” said Buehrle. “Whether they were bouncing them in the dirt or throwing them too high ,it just seemed he wasn't too consistent with the curveball. But everything else, it's just about location. Again, from sitting in the dugout I couldn't see if he was missing spots, hitting location wise, but the way he was keeping guys off balance, it's just keep on attacking the strike zone.”
Any advice for Albers?
“When it's a fastball situation, throw something else,” said Buehrle. “Hitters in fastball counts are sitting on fastballs so just have confidence to throw those other pitches in those situations.”