Team Report - TORONTO BLUE JAYS

The SportsXchange

INSIDE PITCH

TORONTO -- The Toronto Blue Jays had to wait until their 20th game of the season before their home run leader of the past two seasons hit his first of 2014.

Edwin Encarnacion hit 42 homers in 2012 and 36 in 2013. He has one in 2014. It was a big one, a three-run shot to center that went into the second level and tied the game at 3-3 for the Blue Jays in a game they won 9-3 over the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night.

"I just had to continue to work on my approach at the plate," Encarnacion said. "Keep working the way that I always do, working hard and try to find my timing."

Going back to last season, Encarnacion had gone 25 games without a home run, the fourth longest homerless drought of his career.

"He's a good hitter," manager John Gibbons said. "He gives you a good at-bat every time he's up there. But he's a home run hitter and to get that first one I'm sure he's breathing a little easier. He came out early, took some extra hitting [Tuesday] and looked really, really good."

"Sometimes when it's early, you try to do too much and you just have to get your timing right and I know it's going to be right, I just feel a lot better today so I hope to continue to do the same approach I did today," Encarnacion said. "When you have bad timing, you swing at a lot of bad pitches outside of the strike zone. That's the No. 1 thing I always focus on, try to get my timing right and when I get my timing right I'm going to swing at good pitches."

There was nothing wrong with his timing on Tuesday.

"I just tried to be early," he said. "I was being too late and open my hips so that's what made me swing at bad pitches. Today I tried to start early and it felt a lot better."

The Blue Jays have not started to hit the way they can so far this season. Encarnacion looks forward to the day the hitting comes around.

"It's going to be great," he said. "It's going to be fun to watch. We have a very talented team and we know we can hit, so when we start hitting it's going to be great to watch this team play."

NOTES, QUOTES

RECORD: 11-9

STREAK: Won one

NEXT: Orioles (RHP Chris Tillman, 2-1, 1.71 ERA) at Blue Jays (RHP Dustin McGowan, 1-1, 4.85 ERA).

PLAYER NOTES:

--RHP Dustin McGowan will make his fourth start of the season on Wednesday at Rogers Centre when he faces the Baltimore Orioles for the second time this season. He pitched only four-plus innings in the cold at Minnesota last Thursday, allowing six hits, four walks and three runs in a no-decision as Toronto lost 9-5 to the Twins. McGowan's velocity dropped to 88 miles an hour by the end of his 85-pitch outing. In his previous start at Baltimore on April 11, he picked up his first major-league win since 2008 when the blanked the Orioles on five hits, one walk and two hit batters over 6 1/3 innings. He is 1-3 with a 5.98 ERA in 14 career games (seven starts) against Baltimore.

--OF Darin Mastroianni was claimed off waivers from the Minnesota Twins and assigned on option to Triple-A Buffalo. OF Kenny Wilson was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster. Mastroianni, 28, appeared in seven games this season for the Twins, going 0-for-11. A 16th-round draft pick by the Blue Jays in 2007, Mastroianni has hit .220 with three home runs, 22 RBIs and 24 stolen bases in 115 games over four major-league seasons. Wilson, 24, was batting .210 with one home run and eight RBIs at Double-A New Hampshire this season. He was a second-round pick in the 2008 draft.

--OF Kenny Wilson was designated for assignment on Tuesday after OF Darin Mastroianni was claimed off waivers from the Minnesota Twins. Wilson, 24, was batting .210 with one homer and eight RBIs at Double-A New Hampshire this season. He was a second-round draft pick in 2008.

--3B Brett Lawrie has 10 hits this season and is batting .135 (10-for-74). But four of his hits have been home runs after breaking open a 3-3 game with an eighth-inning, three-run homer in Tuesday night's 9-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles. "Brett's had some big hits for us this year," manager John Gibbons said. "He has hit a couple of home runs at big times to give us the lead and tonight to give us a nice little cushion. It's in there, it's going to come out. The thing is, too, he wins games for you with his glove, too. Maybe that will spark him because he is taking good swings at the plate, he's up there taking his rips. It's just a matter of time." Gibbons said he had no intention of having Lawrie bunt in that situation with two on and none out in a tie game. "No, Brett's something good waiting to happen," Gibbons said. "He's bunted a couple of times on his own, but I like him swinging the bat."

--1B Edwin Encarnacion hit his first home run of the season, one of three three-run homers by the Blue Jays in Tuesday night's 9-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. It snapped a 25-game homerless streak going back to last season, the fourth longest drought of his career. The home run in the bottom of the sixth tied the game 3-3. "He's a good hitter, he gives you a good at-bat every time he's up there," manager John Gibbons said. "But he's a home run hitter, to get that first one, I'm sure he's breathing a little easier. He came out early, took some extra hitting today and looked really, really good."

--RF Jose Bautista had two walks and a single in Tuesday night's 9-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles and has reached base safely in all 20 games to open the season. The streak is second in franchise history, behind only the 26-game streak recorded by CF Vernon Wells to open the 2006 season. Bautista leads the majors with 25 walks.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Keep swinging it, the hits are going to come. I can't worry about the average, it's going to be what it's going to be. It's just going to be taking the same approach, the same mentality and keep swinging it." -- 3B Brett Lawrie, who is hitting only .135 but has four homers, including a three-run shot in Tuesday's 9-3 victory over Balimore.

ROSTER REPORT

MEDICAL WATCH:

--SS Jose Reyes (hamstring) was activated off the disabled list April 18.

--DH Adam Lind (back) was placed on the disabled list April 18.

--INF Maicer Izturis (knee) was transferred from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list on April 18.

--OF Colby Rasmus (left hamstring) left the game April 13. He did not play April 15 but returned to the lineup as designated hitter in game one of the doubleheader April 17.

--RHP Casey Janssen (back strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 29. He began a rehab assignment with Class A Dunedin on April 15, but was shut down for at least a few days on April 17 after suffering an abdominal strain.

ROTATION:

RHP R.A. Dickey

RHP Drew Hutchison

LHP Mark Buehrle

RHP Brandon Morrow

RHP Dustin McGowan

BULLPEN:

RHP Sergio Santos (closer)

LHP Brett Cecil

RHP Steve Delabar

LHP Aaron Loup

RHP Todd Redmond

RHP Esmil Rogers

RHP Neil Wagner

LHP J.A Happ

CATCHERS:

Dioner Navarro

Josh Thole

INFIELDERS:

1B Edwin Encarnacion

2B Jonathan Diaz

SS Ryan Goins

SS Jose Reyes

3B Brett Lawrie

1B Juan Francisco

OUTFIELDERS:

LF Melky Cabrera

CF Colby Rasmus

RF Jose Bautista

OF Moises Sierra

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