Swelling in knee keeps Smoak out of lineup

Blue Jays first baseman fouled pitch off left leg

Swelling in knee keeps Smoak out of lineup

CHICAGO -- Justin Smoak's left knee is still sore, but the Blue Jays first baseman doesn't think it will lead to a long-term departure from the starting lineup.

Smoak, who was hurt after fouling a ball off his knee Wednesday against the D-backs, had X-rays taken Friday. Manager John Gibbons said he hadn't seen the results, but Smoak said they confirmed there is no fracture.

"Everything's good to go," said Smoak, who missed his second straight game Saturday. "Just get the swelling out of there and go from there. I didn't feel like there was anything broken in there. It's just with the swelling, it blew up a little bit. Now, the last couple days, we're just trying to work that out of there, and I think it'll be fine."

Without Smoak, Gibbons has played Edwin Encarnacion at first base in the first two games against the White Sox. He's used Encarnacion's usual spot as designated hitter to get Michael Saunders and Josh Donaldson some rest, playing Saunders at DH on Friday and Donaldson in that role Saturday.

Smoak, meanwhile, is concentrating on getting back in the lineup as quickly as possible. He's had a rough June, hitting just .160 (8-for-50) with two home runs and seven RBIs in 18 games, and Smoak would like to get back in the batter's box to turn things around.

"I wasn't feeling great [at the plate] the last few weeks or so," he said. "I haven't felt great, but it comes and goes. That's the way it goes sometimes. You've just got to grind through it in baseball. It's part of a long season."

Strange bounces are, too, and the foul tip that put him in this situation was one of those. Usually, hitters foul the ball straight down off their front foot or lower front leg. This one hit Smoak, a left-handed hitter, on the outside of his back (left) leg.

"It's weird, a weird thing," said Smoak, who's hitting .243 with seven home runs and 20 RBIs for the season. "Bad swing, I guess. I don't know. It was just a freak thing. Hopefully it'll just be a day or two and that's it."

Brian Hedger is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.