Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion hasn’t played since July 5 due to a right quadriceps strain and now his absence appears likely to stretch into August.
According to John Lott of the National Post, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said this morning Encarnacion suffered “a minor setback” while swinging a bat yesterday in Florida. While a return previously appeared possible within the next few days, there’s now no set timetable for his return. Since he has almost missed a month at this point, the Blue Jays might prefer to have him play a minor league rehab game or two before coming off the disabled list.
Encarnacion, 31, is batting .277/.368/.591 with 26 home runs and 70 RBI over 88 games this season. The Blue Jays are 7-8 since he hit the shelf.
The Braves have announced on Tuesday evening the signing of free agent outfielder Marcell Ozuna. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that it’s a one-year contract for $18 million.
Ozuna, 29, hit .241/.328/.472 with 29 home runs, 89 RBI, 80 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases in 549 plate appearances for the Cardinals last season. He’s been consistently above-average in each of the past four seasons, which also included a career year in 2017 in which he was worth 6.1 WAR, per Baseball Reference.
It is surprising that Ozuna, a two-time All-Star and Gold Glove Award winner, had to settle for a one-year deal. The Braves are happy he did as he will help make up for some of the offense lost when third baseman Josh Donaldson became a free agent and ultimately signed with the Twins. Ozuna can become a free agent again after the 2020 season but won’t have qualifying offer compensation attached to him, part of the reason why his market may have been slow to develop.
Along with Ozuna, the Braves have signed in free agency this offseason reliever Will Smith, starter Cole Hamels, and catcher Travis d'Arnaud. They re-signed relievers Chris Martin and Darren O'Day, catcher Tyler Flowers, infielder Adeiny Hechavarría, and outfielder Nick Markakis.