"He ran pretty hard today and felt good," Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said Thursday afternoon. "He has been swinging the bat. We're hopeful to get him into a rehab game maybe Saturday or Sunday, maybe early next week. I expect him to be back, assuming no setbacks, no later than the end of next week, and maybe the Seattle series."
Encarnacion hasn't played since July 5, when he was injured while running to first on a ground ball in Oakland. He was originally expected to return around the beginning of August but suffered a setback in late July and was temporarily shut down.
The veteran slugger recently began riding a stationary bike and has since seen an increase in his overall workout routine. Encarnacion has been swinging a bat for a while and the hope is it won't take very long to get his timing back at the plate.
"The running is the issue, the explosive movements," Anthopoulos said. "I think that's what he might need to protect. If he's hitting a chopper down the third-base line, he's really trying to sprint down the line or trying to stretch an extra-base hit. First base, those quick explosive movements, diving, this and that, they don't have any concerns. They said he went at it pretty hard today."
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.