From Ben Nicholson-Smith of Toronto’s Sportsnet comes word that Edwin Encarnacion is out of the Blue Jays’ starting lineup Tuesday night against the Athletics because of lingering discomfort in his left middle finger. EE jammed the finger in late July and hasn’t really had time to fully recover.
He also sat out of Sunday afternoon’s series finale at Yankee Stadium, a big 2-0 victory for Toronto.
Justin Smoak is starting at first base and Chris Colabello is at DH as the Blue Jays open a three-game set at home versus the visiting Athletics.
Encarnacion is considered day-to-day for now. The 32-year-old slugger has 21 home runs and 64 RBI in 104 games this season for the Jays, who are just 1 1/2 games back of the Yankees in the American League East standings.
Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.
It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.
While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.
If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.