Encarnacion returns, serves as designated hitter

Encarnacion returns, serves as designated hitter

NEW YORK -- After missing three games with soreness in his right big toe, Edwin Encarnacion was back in the Blue Jays' lineup for Thursday's series finale against the Yankees. The slugger was slotted in the three-hole as the designated hitter.

Encarnacion took batting practice and ran sprints before the game and informed manager John Farrell he was good to return.

"He came into the training room today and felt improved from [Wednesday]," Farrell said. "While he might not be completely 100 percent, he is good enough to go right now."

The short-term plan is for Encarnacion to DH while he eases himself back into starts at first base. Farrell said that if the team finds itself in a close game in the later innings, Encarnacion will likely be lifted for a pinch-runner.

Entering Thursday, Encarnacion had a team-leading 40 homers and 102 RBIs to accompany a .947 OPS in a career year.

"His presence back in the lineup is definitely a positive," Farrell said.