ST. PETERSBURG -- Edwin Encarnacion got another start at third base on Wednesday afternoon, as the Blue Jays looked to provide some rest to Melky Cabrera.
Encarnacion's move to third allowed the Blue Jays to open up a spot at designated hitter for Cabrera, who has battled sore hamstrings in both of his legs for most of the year.
The 28-year-old Cabrera has appeared in all of Toronto's 77 games this season, but at times has been hobbled because of lingering soreness.
"We want those fly balls caught," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of giving Rajai Davis the start in left. "[Cabrera's] not injured by any means, and we need him."
Encarnacion temporarily transitioned to third base during Interleague Play, which allowed Adam Lind to remain in the lineup, starting at first. Encarnacion has now appeared in 10 games at third, but Gibbons stressed this is only a short-term fix and one that won't be used very often.
The 30-year-old Encarnacion began his Minor League career at third, before he moved over to first following prolonged defensive struggles at the position. He entered the year having committed 112 errors in 664 games at third, but has been relatively solid during limited action this season.
"He's a first baseman," Gibbons said. "He wants to be a first baseman."
Reyes makes impact on defence in return to lineup
ST. PETERSBURG -- Jose Reyes didn't make his presence felt at the plate, but he did in the field during his first game with the Blue Jays in more than two months.
Reyes made a pair of difficult plays at shortstop and his range appeared back to normal. That's an encouraging sign for a player who missed 66 games with a severely sprained left ankle and relies heavily on his speed to be successful.
There's obviously a lot more intensity in the Major Leagues than the rehab games Reyes became accustomed to over the past couple of weeks, but overall he was pleased with how his body responded.
"I have my confidence back," Reyes said. "I was taking a lot of ground balls in the Minors, side to side, testing my ankle, and everything was good and I showed it today.
"It is different, because every game here means a lot. The atmosphere and energy is on another level. This is the big leagues and like I said, I feel even better when I step on the field."
Reyes went 0-for-4 with three groundouts and a flyout in the 3-0 victory over the Rays, but moved well going up the line when attempting to beat out throws. It will take a little while for Reyes to get his timing down at the plate, but he doesn't envision it becoming a long-term issue.
The 30-year-old hit .414 (12-for-29) with an extra-base hit and six runs scored during his seven games for Class A Dunedin and Triple-A Buffalo, but the calibre of pitching in the big leagues is on an entirely different level.
That will present some challenges, but Reyes said he is going to put in some early work each day in order to speed up the process as much as possible.
"It felt OK, I was seeing the ball good, but that's going to come," Reyes said. "That's something I don't worry about. I'm going to come here early and work on my swing. At least I didn't strike out, I put the ball in play and when you put the ball in play, something good is going to happen."