Game 105: Toronto at Oakland
It was obvious that the Blue Jays were thrilled with the two pitchers they received in the trade that sent Scott Rolen to the Reds. It’s been hard to find anyone that disagrees that Toronto got two talented arms in Josh Roenicke and Zach Stewart.
As for that other piece to the deal? Well, Edwin Encarnacion doesn’t come with glowing reviews. He has shown some power potential (26 homers in ’08), but his defense needs some work, something bench coach Brian Butterfield will tackle for the Jays.
The trade was more about the arms than about acquiring Encarnacion. That being said, there’s always the chance that a change of scenery could do the third baseman some good. When Encarnacion found out that he had been dealt to Toronto, he said it hardly came as a shock.
“I was not surprised,” Encarnacion said. “They’ve been talking about a trade and I’m ready. I know how this game is and I was ready. I was waiting for it and I figured they were going to make a trade. Now, I’m happy I’m here with my new team, Toronto, and I’m going to enjoy it.”
Encarnacion’s numbers this season leave something to be desired: .209 with five homers and 16 RBIs in 43 games. Consider, though, that he missed May and June with a chipped bone in his left wrist. In July, he hit .276 with four homers and 10 RBIs over 24 games.
Encarnacion, who spent the past five seasons with the Reds, said he feels like he’s back at 100 percent and he agreed that a new team might be just what he needed. He noted that he already knew Jose Bautista, Marco Scutaro and Alex Rios, as well as a few other Jays, so getting used to his new surroundings shouldn’t be too difficult.
“I’m going to miss those other guys,” he said. “But we’re going to have fun here.”
DOWNS TO DL: The Blue Jays placed closer Scott Downs on the 15-day DL with the same left big toe injury that shelved him for 19 games between June and July. As for when Downs will be back? “It won’t be any time soon,” said manager Cito Gaston. Jason Frasor steps back into the ninth-inning role and Jeremy Accardo is recalled from Vegas — not that he ever made it to Nevada after being optioned just two days ago.
SCOOT RESTING: Gaston kept shortstop Marco Scutaro on the bench on Sunday in order to allow the infielder to rest a sore right heel that’s been bothering him for a while. With an off-day on Monday, Gaston felt it was a good time to give Scutaro some time to recover. This might explain why Scutaro was pulled early in Friday’s game.
1. Jose Bautista, LF
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Adam Lind, DH
4. Lyle Overbay, 1B
5. Vernon Wells, CF
6. Alex Rios, RF
7. Edwin Encarnacion, 3B
8. Rod Barajas, C
9. John McDonald, SS
Starter: LHP Rickey Romero (9-4, 3.59)
OAKLAND ATHLETICS (44-59)
Fourth place AL West, 18.5 GB
1. Adam Kennedy, 3B
2. Rajai Davis, CF
3. Kurt Suzuki, C
4. Scott Hairston, LF
5. Jack Cust, RF
6. Tommy Everidge, DH
7. Bobby Crosby, 1B
8. Mark Ellis, 2B
9. Cliff Pennington, SS
Starter: RHP Vin Mazzaro (2-7, 5.16)
Don’t forget, you can follow me on Twitter: @MLBastian