Encarnacion, Cecil return to action vs. Phils

First baseman, lefty happy to be back after injury-related absences

Encarnacion, Cecil return to action vs. Phils

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- First baseman Edwin Encarnacion and left-hander Brett Cecil made their return to the Blue Jays' lineup in Thursday afternoon's 4-1 win over the Phillies following prolonged absences because of injuries.

Encarnacion, who was out with a sore back, appeared in a pair of Minor League games earlier this week, but Thursday marked his first appearance in Grapefruit League action since March 8. He walked in his first two plate appearances and later hit into a fielder's choice.

Cecil pitched a clean seventh inning that included a liner to short, a strikeout and a weak grounder to third. It was his first official game after getting off to a slow start this spring because of a sore shoulder.

Cecil updates on his recovery

"Everything's great, warmup was good, everything was good," Cecil said. "I threw all of my pitches, mixed in a couple of changeups. Nothing in particular I was working on, just getting outs."

The fact that both players are on the mend is a major break for an organization that desperately needed some good news following weeks of injuries. Cecil, who will take the next two days off, is rounding into form at the right time and will appear in back-to-back games his next two times out.

Encarnacion will take a big test on Friday afternoon when he plays first base against the Tigers, though poor weather in the region could alter Toronto's plans. The hope is that Encarnacion will able to assume at least semi-regular appearances at first once the season begins.

"Happy to be back and happy to feel good. I made a couple of swings today, and I didn't feel anything. I feel ready to go," he said.

"More of a test for me is when I'm swinging; that's when I was feeling it before. Now when I swing, I've been taking BP, play in a game, and don't feel anything. That's why I feel more happy to get back on the field."

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.