Easy Eddie: Encarnacion shakes off rust

Blue Jays DH goes 2-for-4 with two RBIs in Opening Day win

Easy Eddie: Encarnacion shakes off rust

ST PETERSBURG -- Blue Jays DH Edwin Encarnacion did his best to prove that Spring Training is overrated by coming through with a key two-run single and going 2-for-4 on Opening Day.

Encarnacion did not have a single official plate appearance this spring because of a strained oblique, but that didn't stop him from playing a pivotal role in Toronto's 5-3 victory over the Rays on Sunday.

The veteran slugger stepped to the plate in the top of the first inning and hit a single to right-center field as the Blue Jays took an early 2-0 lead they would not relinquish. Not bad for a guy who didn't have many reps to get his timing down at the plate.

"As far as Eddie goes, all you worry about is health, but the fact that he got that hit, that kind of erases some things," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "It doesn't mean he's locked in by any means, but it gives you a good feeling as opposed to going up 0-for."

Encarnacion initially was considered probable for Opening Day but officially received clearance on Friday after he appeared in a fourth and final Minor League game. Prior to last week, Encarnacion was held out of all baseball activities because of the strain that sidelined him for most of camp.

Toronto had the option of putting Encarnacion on the disabled list and easing him back into baseball activity, but they decided to place him on the roster. Now that he's here, the plan is to use him every day.

"I feel good," Encarnacion said. "I feel 100 percent ready to go and play every day.

"It felt great, my first AB, I got the opportunity to bring some runs to the plate. It felt good. I have to keep making adjustments, keep working on my timing, but I've been seeing the ball good."

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.