9/12/2013 7:24 P.M. ET
Encarnacion eyes return to finish '13 strong
By Evan Peaslee / MLB.com
TORONTO -- With only a handful of games left, it was speculated Wednesday that Edwin Encarnacion might not play again this season. But if left up to the Blue Jays slugger, he could be back as early as Friday.
"If I'm ready tomorrow, I hope to play tomorrow or Saturday," Encarnacion said. "I'm getting better. I feel stronger with my wrist. I hit in the tee today. Feel good. We're going to see tomorrow when I hit BP and see if I'm going to be ready to play."
Encarnacion has missed the past four games with a sore left wrist, but he took hacks with a batting tee for the first time prior to Thursday's series finale with the Angels, and he appeared very pleased with the results.
"I feel a lot better," Encarnacion said. "It's progressed. That's a good thing. It feels better and better."
Part of the reason the 30-year-old is confident he will be ready to play in the next couple of days is because it is an issue that he has been playing through for much of the past couple of weeks. In fact, part of the reason he has been flinging his bat into the stands more frequently is because of the soreness in his wrist.
Prior to being shut down, Encarnacion had amassed 36 home runs, 104 RBIs, .276 average and a .375 OBP.
It marks the second consecutive season that Encarnacion has emerged as the club's best hitter, and after topping out at 42 home runs in 2012, the slugger would like a chance at reaching 40 again and finishing his season strong.
The final hurdle for Encarancion will be Friday, when he takes batting practice for the first time. Whether his wrist responds the way he hopes is still to be determined, but he would like to get out there sooner rather than later.
"I'd like to play and finish my season strong; I want to finish with my team and finish all the way through," Encarnacion said.
Past not a factor as Dickey pulled in sixth
TORONTO -- When R.A. Dickey was pulled in the sixth inning in Wednesday's 5-4 loss to the Angels, it ended an impressive streak for the knuckleballer.
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons strolled to the mound with one away in that inning and removed his workhorse knuckleballer after just 92 pitches and runners on the corners, stopping at 15 a streak of games in which Dickey pitched at least six innings.
"The way I view it, it doesn't matter who it is out there -- if I think we have a better chance to win the game [with someone else] ... I just let the game dictate that," Gibbons said. "If I think the guy is the best option out there, then I'll leave him in there. If not, make a change. It's got nothing to do with confidence; it usually comes down to looking at results."
While Gibbons has had no problem going to his bullpen early, he said his decision Wednesday had nothing to do with a lack of faith in his starter.
"I got all the confidence in the world in [Dickey], but it comes down to trying to win a game," Gibbons said. "You're worrying about 25 guys, not one. That's the name of the game. Bottom line is win the game somehow."
Gose seeks results with new batting technique
TORONTO -- Anthony Gose has been working on eliminating a leg kick from his swing as he tries to find success at the big league level.
Gose has struggled at times in the Majors, batting just .227 over 92 games the past two seasons, and as a result has opted for a new approach at the plate.
"I know what it's like to not have success here, and I don't want to have that feeling again," Gose said. "[The leg kick] works at the lower levels, but they change speeds so good here that it's not real consistent."
The speedy Blue Jays outfielder has been spending additional time with hitting coach Chad Mottola to eliminate the kick, with the purpose of fixing his timing at the plate.
"That kick has been messing with his timing, but he's working at that," manager John Gibbons said. "That's key -- eliminate that kick a little bit, simplify some things, and that should do wonders for his timing."
So far the results have been scattered and a work in progress. The leg kick is something the 23-year-old has had since he was traded to Toronto in 2010, and it is a lengthy process to remove that muscle memory from one's game.
"Looks good in the cage without it, but still in the game, on video and everything, there's still a little kick there," Gose said. "Just trying to slowly try and eliminate it."
"It's one of those things that he's been doing for so long, and we tell him to just play the game, react normally, work on that on the side … and then eventually hopefully it just happens naturally," Gibbons said.