TORONTO -- Edwin Encarnacion returned to the Blue Jays' clubhouse on Tuesday morning, confident that his injury woes are behind him and itching to get back on the field. As expected, the third baseman was activated from the disabled list after dealing with a sore right shoulder.
"I'm feeling good, man," Encarnacion said. "I'm excited to be back here with the team and I'm excited to be 100 percent and ready to go."
It has been a while since Encarnacion could say he was feeling completely healthy. Lingering soreness from offseason surgery on his left wrist forced Encarnacion to sit out for most of Spring Training. Then, early on this season, the third baseman began feeling discomfort in his throwing shoulder.
On Tuesday, Encarnacion returned to the Blue Jays after the club was forced to place outfielder Travis Snider on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right wrist. With Encarnacion back at third base, and batting eighth in the order, Jose Bautista shifted back to right field after filling in at third. Fred Lewis moved from right to left field.
Encarnacion -- under contract for $4.75 million -- had missed 30 games with the shoulder issue, dating back to April 15. After a stint in extended spring training, Encarnacion appeared in three games for Class A Dunedin, going 1-for-10 at the plate. In nine games with the Jays before being sidelined, he hit .219 with one home run and five RBIs.
Encarnacion did not believe timing would present a problem at the plate.
"I got a lot of at-bats in Florida," Encarnacion said. "I've been hitting every day and I've been playing every day. I just need to play. I'm ready to go."
In the second inning on Tuesday, Encarnacion used his bat to back up his words. The third baseman pulled a 2-1 offering from Twins right-hander Carl Pavano deep to the left-center field gap, where it bounced off the top of the wall and disappeared for a two-run homer.
Bautista continues power surge
TORONTO -- Jose Bautista has been launching home runs at a furious pace for the Blue Jays. On Monday, his two-run shot in the second inning of Toronto's 8-3 loss to the Twins kept Bautista within range of the American League's power leaders.
Entering Tuesday, Bautista ranked third in the league with 11 homers -- two behind AL-leader Paul Konerko of the White Sox. Dating back to Sept. 7 of last season, Bautista has belted 21 homers over 243 at-bats in 66 games, or an average of one home run per 11.6 at-bats.
Beyond launching yet another blast on Monday, Bautista was named the AL's Player of the Week for the period ending on Sunday. Heading into Tuesday's play, Bautista had homered in three consecutive games with four long balls over that span.
"He's had some week," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. "I always say about Jose, Jose's not only a guy that you love having on your ballclub, but he can play a lot of different positions for you, too. He's no problem for you. Wherever you put him, he'll go and play."
Bautista's power surge late last season came after he stepped into a regular role following the Blue Jays' decision to let right fielder Alex Rios go to the White Sox in a waiver claim in August. Bautista -- well on pace to surpass his 2006 career high of 16 homers in a season -- opened this year as Toronto's starting right fielder, but has spent time at third base as well.
Lewis looks to improve in leadoff spot
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays have liked what they have seen so far from Fred Lewis as a leadoff man. That said, the speedy left fielder's performance in the first at-bat of the game has room for improvement.
"He's done OK," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said earlier this week. "But I think that Lewis thinks that we expect him to go up there and look for walks. I don't want him doing that. You only lead off one time a ballgame."
Entering Tuesday, Lewis was batting .217 (5-for-23) with three walks, eight strikeouts and a .308 on-base percentage in 26 plate appearances to lead off a ballgame. Overall, Lewis was batting .284 with a .323 on-base percentage over 28 games for the Blue Jays.
TORONTO -- Blue Jays center fielder Vernon Wells singled in the first inning of Monday's 8-3 loss, moving him into sole possession of second place on the franchise's all-time hits list with 1,414. Tony Fernandez heads the list with 1,583 hits as a member of the Jays. Wells homered in the third inning on Tuesday to move him into a tie with Joe Carter (203) for second on the club's all-time home run chart. ... Catcher John Buck entered Tuesday riding a career-best nine-game hitting streak. Buck has hit .429 with three doubles, three home runs and nine RBIs over that span. The nine-game run is the best by a Blue Jays player this year. ... First-base prospect Brett Wallace (Triple-A Las Vegas) currently leads all Blue Jays Minor Leagues in home runs (11), RBIs (31) and slugging percentage (.464).
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.