Encarnacion trains for another strong season

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The 2012 campaign went down as a major disappointment for the Blue Jays, but the same can't be said for Edwin Encarnacion.

Toronto's first baseman/designated hitter enjoyed a career year in which he hit .280 with 42 homers and 110 RBIs while earning the club's Most Valuable Player award at the end of the season.

It was a banner year. As a result, Encarnacion went through the same routine this offseason in the hopes of maintaining that type of production at the plate.

"Just have to try to be the same guy I was last year," said Encarnacion, who finished just two behind Detroit's Miguel Cabrera for the league lead in homers.

"I did my same routine in the offseason, working hard, more harder to put [up] the same number I put last year. I don't have any pressure with that. I'm going to have fun like last year."

Encarnacion will once again follow Jose Bautista and bat cleanup in the Blue Jays' batting order. The heart of the order remains untouched, but with the additions of Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera, there should be more of an opportunity this season to drive in runs.

It's a balanced lineup that could feature as many as four switch hitters and possesses a lot of speed. Last year, the club ranked seventh in the American League with 716 runs, but with any luck that number will improve in 2013.

"It was a very exciting moment when I heard that news, because we want to win," Encarnacion said of the club's offseason moves. "Now, I think we have the team to compete in this division, and I think it's going to be a great year.

"You see how many guys they bring to the team -- pitchers, hitters -- it's going to be different than the last couple of years."