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Encarnacion Shut Down for a Week
Thursday, March 15
Mike Wilner, the Blue Jays' play-by-play announcer, noted Encarnacion's injury is "minor," and he is expected to be OK in time for Opening Day.
Encarnacion Is No Stranger to Injury
This is a difficult setback for the slugger, especially since he has never played a full 162 games in his entire career. What’s more, he only reached the 150-game plateau once (2012) since he entered the league in 2005.
When healthy, Encarnacion is one of the best hitters in the league. He is a two-time All-Star and finished the 2015 season with a .277 batting average, 39 home runs and 111 RBI. He also boasted a career-high 4.7 WAR last year and has been an absolute masher since joining the Blue Jays with 151 long balls from 2012 to 2015.
Fortunately for the Blue Jays, they still have plenty of firepower remaining in the order. In fact, Encarnacion's 39 homers last season still only ranked third on the team. Josh Donaldson won the MVP and hit 41, while Jose Bautista launched 40, and Toronto finished first in the majors in total runs scored with 891.
The Blue Jays also have Chris Colabello and Justin Smoak to rotate in at first base and designated hitter while Encarnacion heals.
Colabello had a career year in 2015 and finished with a .321 batting average, 15 home runs and 54 RBI. Smoak is a veteran who drilled 18 home runs and drove in a career-best 59 runs in 2015 and will likely see more at-bats without Encarnacion.
While the Blue Jays have enough pieces to remain in the postseason race without Encarnacion, they need their slugger back in the middle of the order to once again be the best offensive force in the league.