Encarnacion out of action with back inflammation

Taking cautious approach, Blue Jays plan to rest first baseman for 4-5 days

Encarnacion out of action with back inflammation

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion is expected to miss the next four to five days because of inflammation in his lower back.

Encarnacion underwent an MRI late Monday afternoon and received the results the following day. The exam didn't reveal any structural damage, but as a precaution, he'll temporarily shut it down before hopefully resuming baseball activities by the end of the week.

Back issues have been an ongoing concern for Encarnacion over the past several years. That's one reason why the Blue Jays have contemplated giving him some additional at-bats at designated hitter, but for now, the plan hasn't changed.

"Irritation, a lot of swings early in camp," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "There's no damage in there.

"He's battled that, he'll probably battle that the rest of his career. But if we need him to play some first base, he has to play some first base. He'll be fine. This time of the year, as guys start to get a little older, it's not uncommon, really. He'll be OK."

Encarnacion has never required time on the disabled list because of a back injury, but he was day to day twice in 2014, twice in '12 and once in '11. It has been enough of a concern that Encarnacion arrived in camp this spring openly talking about needing to monitor the area.

The veteran slugger designed his workout program during the offseason to improve his core strength. The goal was to avoid back issues, but after Encarnacion felt discomfort this week, the club plans to take a cautious approach in order to avoid a more serious setback.

"It's something I want to make sure it's right," Encarnacion said Tuesday morning. "I want to do that before I continue my work. ... I have time to get ready, lots of time before the season."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.