Encarnacion becoming a leader for Blue Jays

Encarnacion becoming a leader for Blue Jays

TORONTO -- Edwin Encarnacion has emerged as an undisputed leader on the field for the Blue Jays, and his performance has been a bright spot for an otherwise injury riddled roster. After a tumbling act on Wednesday night against the White Sox in left field, Encarnacion was back as the designated hitter in Friday night's 3-2 win over Texas.

The 29-year old hit his club-leading 31st home run of the season off Yu Darvish in his first at-bat, driving in Kelly Johnson and putting Toronto on the board early.

Encarnacion opted to adjust his swing in the offseason for a two-handed finish that has made a tangible difference in his production, but the visible effects translate outside of the batter's box, too, according to manager John Farrell.

"I think through his performance and increased confidence with the year he's had, we're seeing a guy who has become vocal in the dugout, a guy that has really taken on some of the young guys under his wing," Farrell said.

"It's been really great to see."

Encarnacion entered Saturday's game batting .294 with 31 home runs. He had reached base safely in 47 of his last 52 games dating back to June 16, and leads the club in walks with 60 -- one shy of his career-high 61 in 2008 with Cincinnati.