The 30-year-old has also been dealing with a sore wrist in recent days, but Monday afternoon marked the first time he actually had to be held out of the lineup.
"[Sunday] his hamstring tightened up on him and today when he was down in the cage getting ready for the game it was grabbing him, something there that wasn't normal," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said after his club's 8-3 victory over the Tigers on Monday afternoon. "It made sense to give him the day, we don't want that to turn into anything major. Hopefully it's not a long-term thing, we don't think it will be."
Even if the injury doesn't get any worse, it's another setback to a suddenly depleted roster that is being forced to compete with a short bench. Toronto has carried an eight-man bullpen for most of the season, which leaves just three extra position players at Gibbons' disposal.
That hasn't caused any problems in the past, but it could become a concern now for an organization that has Encarnacion, Adam Lind and Mark DeRosa dealing with various ailments.
Lind was held out of Monday's starting lineup with soreness in his back. DeRosa needed a day off on Sunday to deal with a neck issue that surfaced during batting practice, but the fact that he was cleared to play at first base on Monday afternoon meant the Blue Jays could avoid making a roster move.
That could change in the coming days if either Encarnacion, Lind or DeRosa needs an extended period of time off, but in the meantime the Blue Jays are hoping to navigate their way through the less-than-ideal situation. With Josh Thole catching R.A. Dickey, J.P. Arencibia filled in as DH and went 1-for-4 with a two-run single and three strikeouts.
Said Gibbons of DeRosa, who hit an opposite-field three-run homer in Monday's win: "He's alright to go, he's doesn't feel great but he's that type of guy. He had it a little earlier in the year, got through it, and then was taking some swings in the cage and aggravated it.
"We don't think so, not at this point," Gibbons added about a potential roster move. "We'll see how the next couple of days goes, but we don't think any of those [injuries are] anything major."
The Blue Jays are also dealing with injuries to left fielder Melky Cabrera and third baseman Brett Lawrie. Both players are on the 15-day disabled list and are unlikely to return until after the All-Star Break.