OAKLAND -- The Blue Jays received a potentially devastating blow to their team when Edwin Encarnacion felt a pop in his right leg during the first inning of Saturday's 5-1 loss to the A's.
Encarnacion was attempting to beat out a groundball when he suffered the injury. After touching first base, he crumpled to the ground and then rolled around in obvious discomfort.
The veteran first baseman was later helped off the field by a pair of Blue Jays trainers. The injury is currently being described as "right quadriceps soreness" but Encarnacion will undergo an MRI on Sunday to learn more about the injury.
"I felt [a] pop before I touched the base," Encarnacion said. "That's why, after I touched the base, I let my body go to the ground because I felt a lot of pain."
When a player admits he felt a pop, it almost always leads to very bad news but the Blue Jays were remaining relatively quiet on the issue after the game. It's a perfect example of people inside the clubhouse hoping for the best but fearing for the worst.
At the very least, Encarnacion likely will require a stint on the disabled list. Whether it's a short-term or long-term injury largely depends on whether the muscle has been torn or strained.
"Of course, in this moment I don't want to go to the DL," Encarnacion said. "I want to be playing, helping my team to win games. That's what we need right now, we don't need me to go to the DL, it's going to be very frustrating for me. We'll see what happens."
The Blue Jays can ill afford to lose Encarnacion for an extended period of time. He entered play on Saturday tied for second in the Majors with 26 homers to go along with 69 RBIs in 88 games. With the exception of possibly Jose Bautista, there isn't a more valuable player on the team.
Toronto doesn't know how long Encarnacion will be out but the club will have to prepare for some type of absence. Infielder Dan Johnson is one possible candidate to be promoted from Triple-A Buffalo but Bautista also admitted there already had been talk about moving him to either first or third base.
Bautista was taking groundballs at third prior to Saturday night's game vs the A's. That position might be a little easier on his injured left hamstring, which has been feeling better in recent days but has still limited the four-time All-Star to DH.
If Bautista was able to play the infield that would possibly open up a spot in the outfield for Minor Leaguer Anthony Gose.
"I might be able to do it," Bautista said when asked if he would be able to play the field on Sunday. "First, third, outfield, whatever he needs. We didn't know Edwin was going to be out, so there's more holes to be filled now. There's a couple of us that are banged up. I'm sure they're going to try to decide the best combination of players, where everybody plays, is going to be for us."