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Toronto Blue Jays Edwin Encarnacion shut down for at least another week due to oblique issue

Toronto Blue Jays Edwin Encarnacion shut down for at least another week due to oblique issue, Fla. — Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion has been shut down at spring training for at least another week, this time because of a “little oblique issue.”

Manager John Gibbons relayed the news on Tuesday morning prior to Toronto’s spring training game against the Baltimore Orioles at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.

Encarnacion, 33, has yet to get into a spring training game as he had been dealing with an abscessed tooth pulled a couple of weeks ago. He was supposed to play Wednesday or Thursday before being hit with the oblique muscle problem. Gibbons said Encarnacion will be shut down for at least a week but is still expecting the hard-hitting designated hitter/first baseman to be ready for opening day on April 3. 

“He won’t do anything that involves twisting or turning, that kind of stuff,” said Gibbons. “It’s minor, but those things (obliques) can turn into bad things if you don’t watch it, so (his playing this week) is on hold.”

The worry is, even if Encarnacion is in the lineup for opening day against the Rays in Tampa, he won’t be completely ready. He has yet to have any at-bats in spring training games. But Gibbons isn’t too worried, pointing out that Encarnacion has gotten off to good starts in the past despite dealing with health issues in the spring.

“He’s had some back issues and leg issues in the past out of spring training, but he comes out fine,” the manager said. “I can’t remember exactly the kind of starts he’s had after those things, but he’s one guy who probably doesn’t need as many at-bats. At least he’s shown that. But you’re always worried about that, especially the oblique because those can turn into long-term deals. It’s not at that point, but if we don’t protect it now, it could turn into (a problem). And that’s why we’ll back him off. Get rid of the thing now and you don’t have to worry about it. But he’s not going to get his normal at-bats and you always worry about that. But what are you going to do about it?”

Encarnacion, who becomes a free agent after this season if the Jays don’t sign him to a long-term deal, hit 39 home runs in 146 games last season with 111 RBIs. With Encarcacion out of the lineup, Gibbons would likely go with Chris Colabello and Justin Smoak switching between DH and first in regular season games. read more at