Encarnacion to return to first base after dabbling in left

Encarnacion to return to first base after dabbling in left

OAKLAND -- The experiment with Edwin Encarnacion in left field appears to be over as the Blue Jays no longer need him to play out of position.

Encarnacion made a pair of starts in the outfield this week to make room for Adam Lind at first base and Jose Bautista at DH. Bautista has been unable to play the field while he recovers from a minor strain in his left hamstring.

With Oakland using three left-handed starters over the next three days, Lind is expected to sit while Encarnacion will move back to first. By the time Toronto faces another right-hander pitcher it's expected that Bautista will be cleared to play the field.

"We won't need it," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said Friday morning of Encarnacion. "Jose should be in the next couple of days. With the left-hander going today it might buy him a couple of more days. He should be fine after that I would think."

Encarnacion's defense was exposed during the second inning of Thursday night's ballgame when he misread a fly ball to left field. Encarnacion initially took a step in and then got twisted around before the ball eventually went over his head for a double.

Later in the game, Oakland took advantage of the situation again by testing his arm. A single was turned into a double by Brandon Moss and it became evident the Blue Jays wouldn't be able to stick with the experiment for much longer.

Encarnacion and Bautista are both in the mix for the upcoming All-Star Game in Minnesota. Bautista led all Major League players in votes when the latest ballots were released Sunday night while Encarnacion was fourth at the DH position.

The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15 on FOX.

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.