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08/17/12 7:44 PM ET

Rasmus sidelined for opener with groin injury

TORONTO -- After returning to the lineup as the designated hitter for the final two games of the series against the White Sox, center fielder Colby Rasmus was back on the bench Friday.

Rasmus, who aggravated a groin injury on Aug. 10 against the New York Yankees, was tested before batting practice to see if he was fit to play center field on Friday.

"Just waiting to see if Colby can go in center field defensively," manager John Farrell said Friday afternoon. "He'll run and test that out before BP begins."

When the lineup came out, Anthony Gose was in center field.

Farrell was asked if it might be easier for Rasmus to play left field instead of center as he returns from the injury.

"I'm not going to take someone who's been a center fielder and stick him in a new position when we're dealing with a short-term situation," Farrell said.

Rasmus was batting .245 with 20 homers and 66 RBIs entering Friday.

Morrow targeting return during series against O's

TORONTO -- Right-hander Brandon Morrow could make his return to the Blue Jays' rotation next Friday or Saturday in Baltimore.

Morrow, who sustained a left oblique injury in a nine-pitch start on June 11, has one more rehabilitation start scheduled for Sunday with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats of the Double-A Eastern League before he returns to the Blue Jays.

He will be limited to about 85 pitches Sunday and also will have a similar limit for his first start back with Toronto. On Tuesday, Morrow threw 67 pitches (45 strikes) in 4 2/3 scoreless innings in which he allowed three hits and struck out six.

The Blue Jays have Monday off before opening a three-game series in Detroit, and that could factor in when Morrow makes his return.

If he pitches Friday, he would be going with the regular four days of rest.

"There's a possibility we could give him an extra day as well," manager John Farrell said. "So we've got some flexibility with this next turn through the rotation, particularly with Monday being an off-day. So it's not been set in stone yet. But we've got to get through Sunday first to really outline the first two series of the trip."

When Morrow does return, Farrell said he would still stay with a five-man rotation.

Morrow is 7-4 with a 3.01 ERA in 13 starts this season.

Encarnacion returns to Blue Jays' lineup

TORONTO -- Edwin Encarnacion made his return to the Blue Jays' starting lineup on Friday against the Rangers as the designated hitter after missing Thursday's series finale against the White Sox.

Encarnacion did not play Thursday because of a stiff left shoulder and forearm, the result of a tumble he took on an attempted catch while playing left field in Wednesday's 9-5 loss to the White Sox. He grabbed his shoulder after the play but finished the game.

The 29-year-old slugger passed the final test before playing when he went through regular batting practice before Friday's game. He was in the third spot in the batting order and belted a two-run homer in his first at-bat of the game.

"Eddie took some soft toss and tee work in the cage," manager John Farrell said before Friday's game. "He felt good with that."

Encarnacion has started just two games in left field this season.

He entered Friday's game batting .293 with a career-high 30 homers and 80 RBIs.

Worth noting

• Right fielder Jose Bautista had a day off from hitting drills Friday as he rehabs from a left wrist injury. He's on schedule to take batting practice on the field Saturday.

• Third baseman Brett Lawrie appears to be on schedule to begin his rehabilitation assignment with Class A Dunedin this weekend.

Larry Millson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.