Blue Jays send Encarnacion to Triple-A

Blue Jays send Encarnacion to Triple-A

TORONTO -- Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos would have understood if Edwin Encarnacion left the room in anger. Instead, after learning that he was heading back to the Minor Leagues, the third baseman shook Anthopoulos' hand.

"Edwin is first class. He's a good person," Anthopoulos said. "This one was tough. He's classy. A lot of times, when things like this happen, players storm out of the office or don't shake your hand. He's first class. He shook our hands."

Following the Blue Jays' 9-6 loss to the Giants on Sunday, the club optioned Encarnacion to Triple-A Las Vegas and recalled infielder Jarrett Hoffpauir to take his spot on the roster. Anthopoulos said the move was aimed at helping Encarnacion find more consistency in the field and at the plate.

On Monday, the club also announced that right-hander Scott Richmond, who is returning from a right shoulder impingement, has been reinstated from the 60-day disabled list and optioned to Class A Advanced Dunedin.

After going 0-for-4 against San Francisco, Encarnacion saw his season average drop to .200 to go along with nine home runs and 22 RBIs in 37 games for Toronto. Over his past 22 games, Encarnacion had hit at a .145 clip. In the field, the third baseman had seven errors, including one in Sunday's loss.

The Blue Jays acquired Encarnacion, who is under contract for $4.75 million this year, as part of the four-player trade that sent third baseman Scott Rolen to the Reds on July 31 last season. Encarnacion struggled with left wrist and right shoulder issues this season, but Anthopoulos noted that the third baseman is healthy now.

"It's just a move we felt we needed to make to improve the club," Anthopoulos said. "We still believe in Edwin as a player, but it's something we've been talking about the last little while just to get him going. Certainly he was disappointed in the decision that we made, but we told him this wasn't permanent.

"If he goes down there, plays well, starts to get his swing going a little bit, he should be able to find his way back here."

With Encarnacion out of the picture for now, the Blue Jays can either play Jose Bautista at third base, opening an outfield spot for Dwayne Wise or Adam Lind, or give Hoffpauir a shot at manning third regularly. Hoffpauir -- claimed off waivers by Toronto in November -- played third most of this season with Las Vegas.

Through 57 games at Triple-A, the 27-year-old Hoffpauir hit .328 with nine home runs, 15 doubles and 43 RBIs. Hoffpauir, who can play multiple infield positions, hit for the cycle twice this season. He accomplished the feat on April 25 against Sacramento and again on May 28 against Tacoma.

Richmond, 30, has been sidelined since Spring Training. The North Vancouver, British Columbia native has started two games on a rehab assignment recently, going 2-0 with a 2.31 ERA for Dunedin. In parts of two seasons with Toronto, he is 9-14 with a 5.27 ERA in 32 games, including 29 starts.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.