Encarnacion could return to mix at third

Encarnacion could return to mix at third

Encarnacion could return to mix at third
ATLANTA -- Edwin Encarnacion has been relegated to the bench with the Blue Jays in the middle of a nine-game road trip through National League parks.

Encarnacion began the season as Toronto's starting third baseman, but ongoing defensive woes cost him the job.

The 28-year-old hasn't started at third since May 23 and at least until recently appeared to be the fourth option at the position behind Jayson Nix, John McDonald and Mike McCoy.

"We have placed a premium on the defensive side of it," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said prior to the series finale against the Braves. "Even by his own admission, he feels more comfortable in the [designated hitter] slot."

It's possible that trend could change when the Blue Jays open a three-game series in St. Louis on Friday.

Toronto has managed to score three runs in its past four games, and Farrell said after Wednesday's 5-1 loss to Atlanta that he would be searching for ways to give his club a boost.

That could mean the return of Encarnacion because he has the highest offensive upside at the position where four players combined to hit just 1-for-18 in the past six games.

"We'll continue to search for the right combination, whether it's taking a different look with different guys at certain positions," Farrell said.

"That doesn't mean there will be wholesale changes but certainly, we've got some areas in our lineup where we have to seek to find a little bit more offense."

Encarnacion is batting .251 with two home runs and 12 RBIs in 55 games this season.