TOR@CIN: Encarnacion goes deep twice, drives in six

CINCINNATI -- There probably isn't a day that goes by when the Reds don't regret handing Edwin Encarnacion over to the Blue Jays for essentially nothing in return.

The 2009 Non-Waiver Trade Deadline saw the two sides close on a deal that sent veteran third baseman Scott Rolen to Cincinnati in return for prospects Zach Stewart and Josh Roenicke. The sticking point was the Reds' insistence that Encarnacion be added into the deal because they wanted to get rid of his two-year, $7.6 million contract.

The demand almost caused the deal to fall apart, but eventually the Blue Jays relented and agreed to take Encarnacion. It's a good thing they did because while neither Stewart nor Roenicke panned out, Encarnacion eventually developed into one of the top hitters in the league.

Encarnacion drove that point home vs. his former teammates on Friday night with a pair of three-run home runs. It was Encarnacion's sixth multi-homer game of the season and the 17th of his career, and the performance put him in the Major League lead with 23 homer runs this year.

"It's a great feeling," Encarnacion said. "I played here for five years, so it's great to come back and play the way I played today. I'm very excited."

Encarnacion still has some fans inside the Reds' clubhouse, including perennial All-Star Joey Votto. They spent time together in Cincinnati from 2007-09 and remain relatively close with occasional text messages to each other.

Votto said he always knew the talent was there but couldn't be happier that Encarnacion developed into the type of player a lot of scouts originally thought he could be.

"He's a teammate that I am still really fond of and I'm really proud of how well he's done," Votto said. "There's some guys you tune into and you almost, I don't want to use the word 'awe', but you watch and you think to yourself, 'What do I have to do in my swing to get to that point?' And that May stretch certainly was like that."

Lefty Rasmussen promoted; Hendriks optioned

TOR@BOS: Rasmussen retires Papi in big league debut

CINCINNATI -- The Blue Jays added some additional depth to their bullpen on Saturday afternoon by officially promoting left-hander Rob Rasmussen from Triple-A Buffalo.

Rasmussen took the spot of right-hander Liam Hendriks, who was optioned to the Minors after he allowed six runs in a spot start on Friday night. The latest move had been planned for the past couple of days and gives the club a second left-handed reliever while Brett Cecil is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained groin.

The 25-year-old Rasmussen made his Major League debut earlier this season and allowed two hits and a walk without allowing an earned run over two innings. He displayed some nerves during that brief stint, but the Blue Jays hope the native of California will be able to settle in with a second go-around.

"He got a couple of pretty good lefties out," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "But I think coming up once and then coming back the second time, it has to help you. Now the shock of it, all of that is out of the way. But I'll tell you, he seems like a pretty cool cat."

Toronto has made a series of roster moves this week, but Rasmussen has a shot to stick with the club for an extended period of time. Cecil is expected to miss the next two weeks, and there was a noticeable void in the bullpen with Aaron Loup as the only left-hander at Gibbons' disposal.

Rasmussen posted a 2.62 ERA with 23 strikeouts and 14 walks over 24 innings at Triple-A Buffalo. He has the ability to throw multiple innings, but when the bullpen is rested he'll likely be used as a situational lefty.