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09/20/12 8:27 PM ET

Encarnacion returns, serves as designated hitter

NEW YORK -- After missing three games with soreness in his right big toe, Edwin Encarnacion was back in the Blue Jays' lineup for Thursday's series finale against the Yankees. The slugger was slotted in the three-hole as the designated hitter.

Encarnacion took batting practice and ran sprints before the game and informed manager John Farrell he was good to return.

"He came into the training room today and felt improved from [Wednesday]," Farrell said. "While he might not be completely 100 percent, he is good enough to go right now."

The short-term plan is for Encarnacion to DH while he eases himself back into starts at first base. Farrell said that if the team finds itself in a close game in the later innings, Encarnacion will likely be lifted for a pinch-runner.

Entering Thursday, Encarnacion had a team-leading 40 homers and 102 RBIs to accompany a .947 OPS in a career year.

"His presence back in the lineup is definitely a positive," Farrell said.

Anthopoulos reacts to criticism from Toronto media

NEW YORK -- Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos has faced criticism from the Toronto media, ranging from the way the team handled the Yunel Escobar suspension to how he has constructed the ballclub.

Toronto's fan base held much hope that the team would compete for a postseason spot this season, but the club is wrapping up an injury-riddled campaign.

There was an overwhelming number of media requests to talk to Anthopoulos following Escobar's suspension, and the GM said he tried to accommodate every one of them.

In one particular interview with local radio host Bob McCown of Rogers Sportsnet, Anthopoulos said his phone ran out of battery, which came after McCown critiqued him for, in his opinion, letting Escobar off easy.

"I think I've done every radio interview, every press conference. Someone was saying there's a conspiracy theory that I hung up the phone on 'Prime Time' [McCown's show]," Anthopoulos said. "I was in my hotel room. I don't hang up phones on anybody. The phone died. I called right back. I was told they were on a break, and I had a 6:40 set up with TSN [another Canadian media outlet].

"So I was four minutes late for that. I'm never one to run and hide from media obligations. I do them all. But I do think once you've said your piece, I don't know that we need to continue to rehash it. If people want to do that on their own, that's obviously everyone's right."

The criticism for Anthopoulos, however, didn't stop there.

Former Major League player Gregg Zaun, an current analyst for Sportsnet, took his own shot at Anthopoulos.

Zaun said the Blue Jays' clubhouse is "consequence free" and labeled Anthopoulos -- someone who has never played the game -- a "sabermetrician, a bean counter."

When asked what he thought of Zaun's comments, Anthopoulos chose to downplay what was said.

"That's someone's opinion, and I'm definitely not going to get in a war of words with the media," Anthopoulos said. "There's a lot of managers and general managers that have been very successful in this game that have not played, so people can take from that what they want.

"You can implicate a lot of others. It's someone's opinion, but I'm pretty comfortable in my own skin and I'm not really concerned about it."

Chris Toman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.