Encarnacion back after missing four games

Designated hitter had missed time due to a jammed left middle finger

Encarnacion back after missing four games

TORONTO -- Edwin Encarnacion was back in action for the Blue Jays in the series opener against the Yankees on Friday at Rogers Centre. He'd missed the previous four games with a jammed left middle finger. He went 1-for-2 during Toronto's 4-3 loss.

The injury originally occurred in late July, causing Encarnacion to sit out a pair of games. It resurfaced last weekend against the Yankees in New York. He had been out since Saturday.

"He's feeling good," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He feels good enough to play. Hopefully it doesn't flare up again. We'll see. He's ready to go."

Having Encarnacion back in the lineup could be a boost for the Blue Jays as they open a key three-game series against the American League East-rival Yankees. Prior to his injury, Encarnacion had been heating up, hitting .333 with a 1.025 OPS and three homers in 19 games since the All-Star break.

Chris Colabello had been picking up the slack and hitting cleanup in the designated-hitter's role in Encarnacion's absence, while Justin Smoak assumed first-base duties. With Encarnacion out of the lineup, Colabello briefly saw an everyday role and benefited from regular at-bats, going 6-for-14 in the last four games.

Going forward, Gibbons said he'll find ways to work Colabello into the lineup. He would likely see time at first base depending on pitching matchups, and at DH in the event that Encarnacion is in need of an off-day.

Jamie Ross is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.