Encarnacion to make spring debut next week

Veteran slugger recovering from abscessed tooth procedure

Encarnacion to make spring debut next week

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Edwin Encarnacion is about to begin his Spring Training and likely will appear in a game Wednesday or Thursday.

Encarnacion is scheduled to take batting practice on the field on Sunday morning. He'll then take a day off on Monday before another round of batting practice on Tuesday. That would be the final step before he sees game action.

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The veteran slugger has yet to make an appearance this spring after he had an abscessed tooth pulled earlier this spring. He missed a week and then has been gradually working himself into baseball shape ever since.

"It was one of the worst pains I've ever had in my life," Encarnacion said. "I didn't feel great, but I'm feeling good again and am happy to be back."

Toronto has taken a very cautious approach with a lot of its veteran players this spring. Jose Bautista and Troy Tulowitzki were both eased into spring games following last year's deep run into the postseason.

Encarnacion said originally he wasn't expected to follow that same routine. He arrived in camp ready to go and was getting close to game action until the tooth caused him to miss an extended period of time.

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Toronto still has more than three weeks to go until the start of the regular season on April 3 against the Rays. That should be more than enough time for Encarnacion to get his timing down at the plate and be ready for Opening Day. At the moment, he doesn't anticipate any problems and is looking forward to a return to the field.

"It's feeling good, I'm feeling great and I'm happy to get back to the field," Encarnacion said. "I want to make sure I'm 100 percent and ready to continue until the season opens."

Encarnacion, who is entering the final year of his contract, is coming off a season in which he hit .277 with 39 home runs and 111 RBIs in 146 games. The 33-year-old has set a deadline of Opening Day in negotiations for a possible contract extension. His agent met with Toronto earlier this spring, but there has yet to be any major developments on the possibility of a new deal.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.