Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion, who’s yet to play in a game this spring due to a dental issue, has now been shut down for at least a week with a strained oblique muscle.
Toronto manager John Gibbons told Greg Zeck of MLB.com that “it’s minor, but those things can turn into bad things if you don’t watch it.” There’s now some doubt about Encarnacion being healthy for Opening Day, although Gibbons insists “he’s one guy that probably doesn’t need as many at-bats” to be ready.
Encarnacion is a huge and perhaps somewhat underrated part of the Blue Jays’ scary lineup, hitting .277 with 39 homers and a .929 OPS in 146 games last season and averaging 38 homers with a .919 OPS from 2012-2015.
When the Astros acquired suspended reliever Roberto Osuna it was viewed as a low-price move to bolster their bullpen. Now, it turns out, it was a move to get a closer. Manager A.J. Hinch said as much today, anyway, telling MLB Network Radio that Osuna is going to get most of Houston’s save chances going forward.
This comes the morning after a late innings loss to the Mariners. The closer who Osuna is going to take over for — Hector Rondon — didn’t even pitch in that game, with the damage coming on a three-run Robinson Cano homer off of Collin McHugh. Rondon has blown saves in two of his last three appearances, however, coughing up runs against the Mariners at home on August 12 and against the A’s this past Friday.
Osuna has made five appearances since joining the Astros, allowing one run, striking out three and walking one in five innings of work. Before that he saved nine games for the Blue Jays prior to his domestic violence suspension.