Encarnacion hopeful for batting practice Tuesday

Encarnacion hopeful for batting practice Tuesday

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion is hopeful he can resume batting practice on Tuesday.

Encarnacion hasn't played since suffering a sprained right index finger during the final game of the World Baseball Classic.

The veteran slugger has been hitting off a tee in recent days but has yet to get into a game or face live hitting. He's expected to return within the next few days and is expected to be ready for Opening Day.

"I feel good, I just need to start playing again and I'm going to be all right," Encarnacion said. "I just want to make sure I'll be ready, I don't want to start playing early and get worse. I want to make sure that when I start playing, I want to be 100 percent."

Encarnacion was the Blue Jays' best hitter last season. He hit .280 with career-highs in homers (42) and RBIs (110) and games played (151).

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.