Blue Jays’ Encarnacion still hoping to be ready for start of season

Toronto Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion. (Frank Gunn/CP)

DUNEDIN, Fla. – Rain cut short batting practice for the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday in addition to forcing the cancellation of a scheduled Grapefruit League game against the Philadelphia Phillies, but it held off long enough for Edwin Encarnacion to move about freely fielding grounders at first base.

Next up for the Blue Jays slugger who’s taken just one batting practice this spring because of pain from an abscess tooth and then because of a strained oblique?

Batting practice, possibly as early as Tuesday, according to the player himself.

Encarnacion is still hopeful of being ready for the start of the regular season. If he isn’t ready, he will most likely be left behind in Florida which would mean that two of Junior Lake, Ezequiel Carrera and Darrell Ceciliani would likely make the 25-man roster.

The three players are currently battling for the fourth outfielder’s spot, with each having their own strengths: Carrera the full confidence of manager John Gibbons and a track record with the team in 2015; Lake a right-handed hitter, and Ceciliani with what Gibbons refers to as “perfect makeup for a fourth outfielder … he’s a grinder,” who has decent speed and can also play centre-field.

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