TORONTO -- Colby Rasmus made his return to the Blue Jays lineup on Wednesday night after missing the previous four games because of a strained right groin.
Rasmus got the start at designated hitter, going 0-for-5 with four strikeouts in the 9-5 loss against Chicago, and is expected to stay away from defensive duties in center field until he has more time to fully recover.
The hope is that easing Rasmus back into the starting nine will help him avoid aggravating the groin area where soreness has lingered all month.
"He's good to go and we're gradually getting him back in," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "On this turf, as aggressive as his breaks and reads are in the outfield, we all came to the agreement, 'Let's put the bat back in your hand, DH, see how you get out of the box, run the bases.'
"Rather than throwing him into a more full workload, felt like this is probably the best way to go given that he aggravated it, sat out a couple of days, felt it again. We'll slowly work him back in there."
Rasmus' start in the DH slot forced Farrell to get a little creative with his lineup in order to accommodate Edwin Encarnacion and David Cooper. Encarnacion and Cooper typically split time at first base/DH and have been the club's most reliable hitters in recent weeks.
To avoid sitting either player, Farrell opted to give Encarnacion a rare start in left field. It's the first time since early June that Encarnacion played left and just the second time in his career.
Encarnacion hasn't exactly spent a lot of time working out at the position, either, but since this is a short-term solution, there doesn't seem to be much concern on the club's behalf.
"I know it has been two months since he played in Atlanta -- if he didn't feel comfortable, we wouldn't go this path," Farrell said. "But he feels like he can get out there for a short look."
Encarnacion nearly made a spectacular diving catch in the third inning, but the ball fell from his glove when he hit the ground and two runs scored.