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The Globe and Mail

Back injury sidelines Encarnacion as Blue Jays seek sweep of Tigers

Toronto Blue Jays' Edwin Encarnacion pauses between pitches during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Detroit, Tuesday, June 3, 2014.

Carlos Osorio/AP

When the Toronto Blue Jays attempt to sweep away the Detroit Tigers here at Comerica Park Thursday afternoon they will have to do it without slugger Edwin Encarnacion.

When the lineup was posted on the clubhouse wall here Thursday morning it featured Adam Lind at first base with Dioner Navarro assuming the designated hitter role.

Erik Kratz will get the start behind the plate to catch starter J.A. Happ.

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Encarnacion came out of Wednesday's game in the ninth inning after complaining that his back was tightening up. He told reporters after the game that he was not sure if he would be able to go or not.

After talking with Encarnacion Thursday morning, Gibbons said the decision was made to sit him out.

"We'll give him a day today," Gibbons said. "Hopefully he's good to go tomorrow, we'll see."

After Thursday's game, the Blue Jays will head back to Toronto to start a three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals, which will begin Friday night at Rogers Centre.

Encarnacion has never had a history of any back problems and Gibbons believes this setback should only be short-lived.

Encarnacion has been a key component in the Blue Jays surge to the top of the American League East standing, clubbing a club-record 16 home runs in the month of May.

That feat earned him recognition as Major League Baseball's A.L. player of the month award.

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