After being shut down earlier this week, Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion underwent successful surgery on his left wrist yesterday.
Encarnacion missed some time after tweaking his wrist earlier this month, but he was able to return to the lineup over the weekend. While he initially planned to play through the discomfort, he changed his mind after he struck out swinging and threw his bat in the stands in his final at-bat on Sunday. Evan Peaslee of MLB.com reports that Encarnacion had cartilage removed from the wrist while the “conservative” estimate is that he’ll need two months of recovery time.
After a breakthrough season in 2012, Encarnacion batted .272/.370/.534 with 36 home runs and 104 RBI in 142 games this season. Only Chris Davis and Miguel Cabrera have more home runs over the past two seasons.
No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.
On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.
Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.