Smoak swats homer from each side

Blue Jays first baseman delivers in rare start

Smoak swats homer from each side

TORONTO -- Justin Smoak might not be getting a lot of playing time, but he is certainly making the most out of his opportunities.

Smoak homered from both sides of the plate in Wednesday's 11-2 Blue Jays victory over the Red Sox. It was the third multi-homer game of his career and the second time he's gon deep from both sides of the plate in the same game.

The 28-year-old has seven dingers despite having only 115 at bats. The strong day at the plate is even more impressive when considering that Smoak had not started since June 21 against Baltimore.

"It's definitely new to me," Smoak admitted about the lack of playing time. "It's not easy, it's a lot of work behind the scenes and getting ready during the game to be ready in any situation. It's something I'm trying to adjust to.

Smoak on two homers, win

"I try not to take too many [reps]. You can get caught up in the cage, especially here at home when you have a cage to take swings at. You can take swing after swing after swing during the game. You find something you like, the feel you like, you kind of have to shut it down and be ready to go."

Smoak's big day could influence Blue Jays manager John Gibbons to find him some additional playing time. In recent weeks, Dioner Navarro has taken most of his at-bats with occasional starts at designated hitter. Even when Edwin Encarnacion needed a day off from the field it was Chris Colabello who frequently stepped in at first base.

That left Smoak relegated to the bench where he primarily serves as a pinch hitter and late-game defensive specialist at first. He's an asset with the glove on the right side of the infield and if he has another couple of games like this, Gibbons might not have much of a choice but to play him more often.

Gibbons on Smoak, offense in win

"After today, I think you'd have to, wouldn't you?" Gibbons said when asked about playing Smoak a little more often. "Some of it is [matchups]. I've been using Dino, he had been hot, he had a great series down in Tampa, he's a great hitter, we've seen him hit.

"Smoak has had some big pinch-hits for us ... Right now, the way the lineup is set, there isn't a lot of pinch-hitting going on anymore, but we'll get him in there. I got to believe he deserves it after today."

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