Encarnacion cameos in left, boosts All-Star stock

Encarnacion cameos in left, boosts All-Star stock

TORONTO -- Jose Bautista said following Tuesday's game against the Brewers that manager John Gibbons might have to "get creative" in order to get Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion into the lineup at the same time as Bautista occupies the designated hitter's role while he recovers from a strained left hamstring.

On Wednesday, Gibbons exercised his creative juices, penciling Encarnacion into left field for the Blue Jays' series finale against the Brewers, which Toronto took, 7-4, thanks to a walk-off homer from Encarnacion.

Melky Cabrera, the team's everyday left fielder, was moved to right field. Encarnacion last patrolled the outfield in 2012, playing three games and recording three putouts. He didn't see any balls hits his way on Wednesday.

"I asked [Encarnacion] if he could do it, and he said, 'Oh yeah, I've done it before,'" said Gibbons. "Eddy's words were, 'Whatever makes the team better.' That doesn't surprise me coming from him."

The left-handed-hitting Lind, who had a rare day off against a right-hander as Marco Estrada took the hill for the Brewers on Tuesday, was at first base and batting cleanup Wednesday against righty Wily Peralta. He went 2-for-3 with an RBI.

Bautista, meanwhile, hit another solo shot as the Blue Jays earned a two-game sweep over the Brewers Wednesday.

Encarnacion, who is hitting .397 over his last 17 games, finds himself looking for a second All-Star Game selection as fan balloting for the American League comes to the close this week.

Encarnacion, who was a 2013 All-Star for the Blue Jays, is ranked fourth among AL designated hitters with 1,590,498 votes, as of Monday's balloting update.

He trails Victor Martinez of the Tigers (third, 1,822,927), the Red Sox's David Ortiz (second, 1,948,211) and the Orioles' Nelson Cruz (first, 2,944,267).

Several other Blue Jays remain in contention for the AL squad, including Jose Bautista, who is leading all AL players with 4,460,245 votes. Oakland's Yoenis Cespedes is third among AL outfielders with 1,941,553 votes and holds a slight lead over Blue Jays left fielder Melky Cabrera (1,929,506).

Third baseman Brett Lawrie (fifth, 865,684) and shortstop Jose Reyes (fourth, 1,008,063) are also Toronto All-Star possibilities.

Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday at 11:59 p.m. ET. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15.

Jamie Ross is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.