9/10/2013 8:44 P.M. ET
Rasmus uses caution in hopes of stronger return
By Evan Peaslee / MLB.com
TORONTO -- Though Colby Rasmus is still not ready to return from a left oblique injury, he has learned from his past.
Rasmus has played through oblique injuries before, and he was not going to let this injury linger and hamper him for the rest of the season.
"In the past I didn't slow myself down enough to try and come out of the game; I just kept playing, and it didn't work out in my favor," Rasmus said. "So, I felt this time I needed to get myself right. That way I can come back strong and healthy and be able to help the team. Instead of putting myself through pain and trying to play through it, and maybe not doing as well as I could."
The Blue Jays center fielder, who last played Aug. 11, has made sure he has cut himself off as soon at the first sign of discomfort, to make sure that he does not further aggravate the typically finicky injury.
Rasmus has been spending the past month at the club's Minor League complex in Dunedin, Fla., but it was not until he returned to Toronto on Monday that he able to truly test where he was physically.
The 27-year-old had been taking swings off a tee and taking flips, but he was not able to let loose until taking batting practice for the first time prior to Tuesday's game with the Angels.
Afterward he reported no pain, and he was just trying to get back into his old routine.
"Feeling good, just trying to get back on this turf, taking some swings, taking some full hacks," Rasmus said. "Down in Florida, I wasn't able to really get into it, get after it. So, go up here and get some swings on the field and running some balls down."
"As long as I get my swing feeling good, as far as my routine that I was doing before I left, get all those things going, I think the game will come to me fairly quick."
While Rasmus refused to set a timeline for his recovery, there is a general thought that perhaps by the end of the week he could get back into a game.
Until then, he will continue to just prepare and rehab his oblique.
"I didn't think of anything other than that… if I had a chance to come back and play, and I feel good, and my body feels good, then that's what I'm going to do," Rasmus said.
Starters' success crowding Blue Jays' bullpen
TORONTO -- With just 19 games remaining entering Tuesday's contest with Angels, there probably will not be a lot of playing time for pitchers like Ricky Romero and Kyle Drabek.
Drabek and Romero are starters, but with an off-day Monday and the pitching rotation playing the way it has, there have been limited opportunities for the duo.
Toronto starters combined to go 10-2 with a 2.44 ERA over 13 outings entering Tuesday, including 10 straight games allowing three earned runs or fewer. They were averaging just shy of 6 1/3 innings, meaning there have been fewer opportunities for the bullpen.
"Early on when our starters were struggling, there was plenty of opportunities, but they've been on a pretty good roll," manager John Gibbons said. "We don't know how the final week to 10 days, two weeks, will stack up anyways. But as of right now, we're just going to roll these five guys."
That means Todd Redmond and Esmil Rogers will continue to see starts ahead of Drabek and Romero.
The club would like to see all of its pitchers get into some games, but for the handful of starters who got called up from Triple-A Buffalo when the rosters expanded, that will most likely come only in games in which there is a blowout one way or the other.
Drabek's first and only appearance came with the club up, 8-2, over the Twins on Saturday, and that appears to be the club's strategy moving forward.
"If your starter has a good outing, you try to close out the game; you owe that to those guys, too," Gibbons said. "So you go with those guys that fill those roles."
What that means for Romero and Drabek moving into 2014 is unclear, but the club's commitment at the moment is with its current starters.
"You want to get [Mark] Buehrle to those 200 innings," Gibbons said. "He's on a nice little roll right now. Let him run the string out. [R.A.] Dickey's pitching well. Rogers is coming off back-to-back good starts. Redmond has been good."
Add in the fact that J.A. Happ will continue to be rolled out every five days after missing three months of the season, and there are not a whole lot of innings to be had between the other 13 guys in the bullpen.
Encarnacion out of lineup in opener vs. Angels
TORONTO -- Edwin Encarnacion was out of the lineup for the second straight game with a sore left wrist Tuesday against the Angels.
Encarnacion tweaked his wrist during Saturday's contest with the Twins, and despite an off-day Monday he was not quite ready to return to the lineup.
"Eddy's still a little banged up; his wrist is hurting today," manager John Gibbons said Tuesday.
The Blue Jays slugger's injury is still considered minor and will be monitored on a day-to-day basis.
Encarnacion is hitting .276 with 36 home runs and 104 RBIs in 139 games. His absence from the lineup makes way for Kevin Pillar.
Pillar has had trouble adapting to Major League pitching over 21 games, batting just .172 with a home run and seven RBIs. He will be batting ninth as the club's designated hitter, with Adam Lind taking over duties at first base.