Edwin Encarnacion will line up in left field Wednesday afternoon for the Toronto Blue Jays when they play the Milwaukee Brewers at Rogers Centre.
The move was dictated by Toronto manager John Gibbons so he could get the hot bat of Adam Lind into the lineup while Jose Bautista continues to be limited to designated hitter duties while recovering from a left hamstring injury.
“He’ll be good out there,” Gibbons predicted Wednesday morning to reporters.
For Encarnacion, it will only mark the third time he will start a game in left field – the first time since Aug. 15, 2012 versus the Chicago White Sox.
Encarnacion also lined up in left field to start a game on June 10th that same season against the Atlanta Braves.
Encarnacion normally plays first base or at DH but the DH spot will be filled by Bautista who does not believe his healing hamstring can withstand the rigors of playing in right field.
In order to also get the bat of Lind, who is hitting .335 on the year, into the lineup, Encarnacion will get the start in left field with Lind playing first.
Melky Cabrera, who has a stronger arm than Encarnacion, will move from left field to right.
“Eddie’s words, ’Whatever makes the team better,’” is what Gibbons said was the reaction of Encarnacion when he was informed of the plan.
The American League club also announced that they have signed righthanded pitcher Jeff Hoffman, its first pick (ninth overall) in this year’s draft, to a contract.
Catcher Max Pentecost, who was taken 11th overall by the Jays, has also agreed to a deal.
Those signings brings the total number of players signed from the draft to 27, including 10 picks from the top 10 rounds.
Hoffman, 21, made 10 starts this season with East Carolina posting a 3-3 record with a 2.94 ERA, including 72 strikeouts in 67.1 innings.
The right-hander had his final season cut short due to injury and required Tommy John surgery on May 14.
Pentecost, 21, led Kennesaw State to an NCAA Super Regional appearance, while leading the nation in hits with 113 and finishing 2nd with a .422 average, both A-Sun and school records.