4/10/2013 9:27 P.M. ET
Encarnacion doubles his way out of hitting funk
By Gregor Chisholm / MLB.com
DETROIT -- Edwin Encarnacion snapped an 0-for-19 streak with a pair of doubles in the Blue Jays' 8-6 victory over the Tigers on Wednesday afternoon.
Encarnacion entered the game with just two hits on the season as the Blue Jays' cleanup hitter, but he doubled that total versus Detroit.
The first double occurred in the fourth inning, but it was the double in the sixth that scored one and helped spark a three-run rally to get Toronto back into the game.
"I knew I had to just keep my head up, I knew things were going to change, it's not going to be like the beginning all year long," Encarnacion said. "I felt a lot better, more confident, especially when you get a hit, that's what you need, a blooper, something, then your mind changes."
The early-season struggles might have been a cause for concern, but the fact remains the Blue Jays are still only a week into their 162-game schedule. There's more than enough time to turn things around in April, but that's a month in which Encarnacion has experienced a lot of difficulty in the past.
Encarnacion did manage to hit .322 last April, but for his career he is just a .246 hitter with a .767 OPS during the month. The numbers haven't been any better in May as evidenced by a .230 average and .720 OPS, but from there things drastically turn around.
The Dominican native said he expects things to improve a lot faster than that this season, and Encarnacion insists the slow start doesn't have anything to do with a sprained right index finger which caused him issues during Spring Training.
The bigger culprit has been pitch selection, and that's something he improved upon versus the Tigers as he took a more patient approach to his at-bats.
"I feel great, my finger feels 100 percent ready to go," Encarnacion said. "Things have been working good, I just have to keep working hard, keep working on my routine, and I know things will change.
"I feel good. I just have to select my pitch. I've been swinging at a lot of pitches out of the strike zone, and that's how I've been making outs by myself, swinging at bad pitches. So, right now I'm going to try to focus on a pitch in the strike zone."
Reyes playing his part atop Blue Jays' lineup
DETROIT -- The Blue Jays are off to a slow start this season, but the same can't be said for their All-Star shortstop, Jose Reyes.
Reyes has been one of the few bright spots in an otherwise disappointing Opening Week. He entered play on Wednesday with a .444 average, five runs scored and three-extra base hits through seven games.
The Dominican native has been everything the Blue Jays were hoping for at the top of their order, and while the heart of the order hasn't done a very good job of driving him in, the opportunities certainly have been there.
"I feel good at the plate right now," said Reyes, who extended his hitting streak to seven games later in the day with a single in the eighth inning of the Blue Jays' 8-6 win over the Tigers. "Just seeing the ball good, make a good swing on the ball. I go up there looking for a pitch, and if I get it, I'm going to put a good swing on the ball.
"But that doesn't mean anything, because we know we're not playing the way we're supposed to play -- so I feel like I haven't done anything, because it's all about winning."
While Reyes was waiting out the rain during a 2-hour and 29-minute delay before Wednesday's game, he could take some solace in the fact that he had reached base in 14 of his past 22 plate appearances. He also had enjoyed a multi-hit game in his past four contests, and while that came to an end on Wednesday, his 12 hits through the first seven games trailed only Dave Martinez (14) for the most to start a Blue Jays career.
One of the contributing factors to Reyes' hot start could be his participation in the recent World Baseball Classic. Reyes was one of the offensive standouts from that tournament, and the success clearly has carried over into the regular season.
Reyes prepared himself for competitive baseball a little bit earlier than normal, and while it helped result in a Classic championship, it also produced some positive numbers at the plate.
"Yes I had to get ready this year sooner because you're going to go play in the WBC," Reyes said. "I think that helped me with my winning attitude, too. Take the confidence and bring it to this ballclub."
One of the trending topics surrounding the Blue Jays' slow start is how it relates to what the Marlins went through last season. In some ways, it's a natural comparison to make, considering Miami went through a similar offseason spending spree a year ago, and now several of those key players find themselves on Toronto's roster.
But that's where the comparisons end in Reyes' opinion. The ballclubs are completely different, and while the Marlins started last season with a 2-5 record -- the same win/loss total the Blue Jays had entering Wednesday -- it doesn't mean the failed results will find their way to Toronto as well.
"What happened in Miami was in Miami," Reyes said. "This is a new ballclub, different atmosphere here, different chemistry. I can't compare what happened last year to this year. We're going to be fine. We believe in the talent that we put on the field every single night. We're going to turn it around, and hopefully it will be sooner than later.
"There's still plenty of baseball left. If we were talking about September it's a different ballgame, but we're just a week into the season, the season is still young."
Blue Jays claim outfielder Wells off waivers
DETROIT -- The Blue Jays claimed outfielder Casper Wells off waivers from the Mariners on Wednesday afternoon.
Wells, who is out of options on his contract, was cut by Seattle at the end of March, when the club decided to go with Jason Bay as its final outfielder on the 25-man roster.
The 28-year-old Wells is expected to report prior to Toronto's series opener in Kansas City on Friday. By that time, the Blue Jays will have to make a corresponding move to create room on their 25-man roster.
Wells is an above-average defender who hit .225 with 17 home runs and 51 RBIs in 124 games for the Mariners over the past two seasons. He batted .189 with two homers, 14 RBIs and a .646 OPS in 53 at-bats this spring.
The biggest benefit for the Blue Jays is Wells' ability to hit left-handed pitching. Wells is a career .264 hitter with an .838 OPS versus lefties compared to a .230 average and .675 OPS against righties.
The claim likely means Toronto will soon go with a seven-man bullpen. The club had been carrying eight relievers through the first week of the season, but that will soon change, and it's probable that right-hander Edgar Gonzalez will be the one who is designated for assignment.
To make room on the 40-man roster for Wells, the Blue Jays designated right-hander Alex Burnett for assignment.
Broken nail not expected to hamper Dickey
DETROIT -- In the grand scheme of everyday life a broken fingernail means next to nothing, but the same can't necessarily be said for a knuckleball pitcher.
R.A. Dickey broke a nail during the first inning of his last start against Boston. The ailment might seem incredibly minor, but considering the way Dickey has to grip the ball if his nails aren't quite right, it can have a negative impact.
The minor injury wasn't revealed until general manager Alex Anthopoulos brought it up during a radio interview on Tuesday night. He was asked about it again on Wednesday morning and insisted that Dickey isn't in danger of missing his upcoming start on Saturday.
"He's said he's done it many times in the past, that he could pitch with it," Anthopoulos said. "He wasn't concerned about it and said it happens all the time, so we're not concerned about it."
Dickey's fingernail might not be a concern, but the overall performance of the starting rotation has been through the first seven games of the season.
Toronto's starters have yet to throw a single pitch in the seventh inning while posting an overall ERA of 6.08, which is third worst in the Major Leagues. The sample size is still incredibly small, though, and Anthopoulos believes the rotation will still prove to be a major strength for his ballclub.
"Once our rotation starts to settle in, I think we'll be fine," Anthopoulos said. "It's really our starters giving us a chance to win the games. Obviously, offensively we need to get everybody going as well.
"It's just a matter of everything clicking together at the same time and just starting to get on a roll."
The Blue Jays signed veteran right-hander Miguel Batista to a Minor League contract on Tuesday night. The move isn't expected to have a major impact on the big league club but was instead made to help improve depth at Triple-A Buffalo
"They needed some innings down there just to have any type of role, long relief, spot start," Anthopoulos said. "It's just depth. You'll see a lot of transactions on the Minor League side that they do day in and day out. I understand that anyone who is a former big league player is going to be news, but it's just for them to have more innings and have a little more length."