MacArthur: Jays injuries mount as season winds down

Scott MacArthur
9/17/2013 9:46:11 PM
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TORONTO - Add two more Blue Jays to the club's growing list of players whose seasons have come to an early end.

Edwin Encarnacion, bothered by a sore left wrist for parts of the season, requires surgery with an expected recovery time of two months. He expects to be ready for spring training.

"It's not a good feeling anytime I have to get surgery but I'm happy because I'm going to get it done and I know that it's been bothering me a lot, every swing I make," he said. "I just want to get it done."

Reliever Brett Cecil, whose arm problems began with a tired shoulder in July and morphed into elbow pain by mid-August, will have a precautionary MRI and won't pitch again this year.

Cecil was quick to attack the elephant in the room – he doesn't anticipate having to undergo Tommy John ligament replacement surgery.

"I don't react to any of the ligament tests where if something was wrong with the ligament it would, you know, I would feel it and I haven't felt that," said Cecil. "Everything right now points to just nerve inflammation, which is good in the sense that it's not something else but the doctor also told me it's bad in the way that the nerve's getting irritated because it's being overworked because everything else is tired."

Encarnacion missed four games earlier this month – the series finale in Minnesota and last week's series against the Angels – due to wrist pain. He returned against the Orioles, hoping to achieve at least one outstanding goal – back to back 40-home run seasons.

"I tried to finish with our team, playing our season and tried to make it to 40 home runs," said Encarnacion. "I wanted to get it two years in a row but the way I'm feeling I couldn't make it. I feel good with my season and I hope next year we come back playing better and for this time of the year next year try to be in the playoffs. That's my goal."

Encarnacion finishes the season with 36 home runs and an OPS of .904. He walked 82 times and struck out on only 62 occasions. An avid watcher of video, he tutored Brett Lawrie, helping the young third baseman better identify pitchers' tendencies. He has similarly worked with Moises Sierra since Sierra's recall from Buffalo.

A quiet leader, at least publicly, Encarnacion admitted frustration that for a 19th-straight season the Blue Jays aren't playing important baseball in September.

"It's hard for us, the way we played this year," he said. "It's not a good feeling for me or for any other player because at this time we wanted to be fighting for that spot. It's hard for us to be like this right now but we just have to come back next year ready to show that we can do it."

Cecil's numbers and his workload reflect the health of his arm. In 41 first-half games - a time when manager John Gibbons had no choice but to overwork his bullpen due to shoddy starting pitching - Cecil worked 46 1/3 innings, striking out 55 and posting an ERA of 1.94 and a WHIP of 0.971.

He paid the price after the All-Star break. Since then Cecil has appeared in only 19 games, just 14 1/3 innings, with an ERA of 5.65 and a WHIP of 1.535 while battling shoulder fatigue and the pain in his elbow.

Expect noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews to review Cecil's MRI results. Cecil says that protocol, however, is a matter of policy, and reiterated his confidence that the injury isn't serious.

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