9/19/2013 7:35 P.M. ET
Right mindset has Rasmus enjoying consistent year
By Evan Peaslee / MLB.com
TORONTO -- Since returning from an oblique injury, Colby Rasmus has had no trouble finding a rhythm at the plate.
After missing a month of time with the injury, the Blue Jays center fielder entered Thursday night having homered in four straight games since returning, tying the longest streak for a Toronto player this season.
"Yeah, I'd say I feel pretty good," Rasmus said. "That's why I took my time to make sure I got it right, so I could come back and not have any problems with it, and it's been feeling fine."
With the recent surge, Rasmus is just one shy of a career-high 23 home runs set in 2010 and '12, and he is in the midst of one of his finest and more consistent seasons at the plate.
Just last year, the 27-year-old struggled mightily with consistency that saw him hit .256 before the All-Star break, and .176 after.
While Rasmus is happy that his numbers this season have seen fewer peaks and valleys, his biggest accomplishment is the lessons that he's learned as a professional baseball player that have helped him turn the corner.
"The most important thing for me is that I've learned to filter things," Rasmus said. "Whenever somebody says something to me, I take it for what it is, and not try to be something that I'm not. ... I just try to be myself, go out there and play a baseball game and have fun."
Arguably the mental side of the game has always been Rasmus' biggest issue in the Majors. His talent has never been questioned, but issues with the Cardinals' management and his personal demons never allowed him to fully tap in to the vast potential of talent.
These days, the Columbus, Ga., native is no longer worried about the expectations of others, and he's focused solely on enjoying the game.
"I'm playing a baseball game like I'm a little kid," Rasmus said. "Just having fun. Just trying to hit the baseball. Not thinking about what somebody thinks of me and what I should try to do because they see me and the abilities they have don't mean that's what's going to happen for me. ... I just try to go out there, relax and play.
"I don't listen to what people have to say about what I should be doing, what I shouldn't be doing. I just try to stay focused on what I feel is good for me, and my routine. I think that's helped me a lot."
Encarnacion has successful wrist surgery
TORONTO -- Blue Jays designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion had surgery to remove some cartilage from his ailing left wrist Thursday in Cleveland.
The surgery was successful, and all reports are positive in the relatively minor procedure.
"Eddy had his surgery today, it went well," manager John Gibbons said.
Encarnacion was shut down for the remainder of the season on Tuesday due to lingering pain in his wrist that caused him discomfort when he swung a bat.
The Toronto slugger was hoping to play through the pain until the end of the season, but after he struck out swinging and threw his bat in the stands in his final at-bat Sunday vs. the Orioles, he knew that was no longer possible.
"After that swing, I say, 'I can't go more. I can't swing,'" Encarnacion said on Tuesday.
A "conservative" estimate has the recovery time from the surgery at around two months, and it should have no effect on his offseason training.
"I wouldn't think [it would affect him]," Gibbons said. "He can do everything else but swing a bat. Time's on his side right now."
Gibbons could keep mixing, matching relievers
TORONTO -- In Tuesday's 2-0 victory over the Yankees, the Blue Jays relied on Casey Janssen and Sergio Santos to close out the game, but that may not be a familiar combination next season.
Both Janssen and Santos have proven to be extremely valuable late-inning arms for Toronto when healthy, and with Santos being a former closer with the White Sox, the pair would surely solidify an already strong bullpen as the club's go-to shutdown men.
That, however, is not how manager John Gibbons foresees it.
While Gibbons raved about the value of Santos moving into next season, he likes the idea of having the ability to mix and match his relievers based on matchups.
With a bullpen that will also include All-Stars Brett Cecil and Steve Delabar -- and possibly Dustin McGowan -- next season, it's hard to see faults in his argument.
"We like them all," Gibbons said. "Earlier in the year, we had Cecil coming in getting some big outs late in the game. Delabar was primarily the eighth-inning guy. ... So [there are] many different ways you can go."
"It's nice to have different guys, so that you don't have to rely on the same guys every night."
While some teams seem to rely on just one or two pitchers in big situations late in the game, Gibbons believes he'll be able to trust at least four players in crucial moments.
This despite Delabar having some regression in the second half, sporting an 8.56 ERA since the All-Star break, compared to 1.71 before it, and Cecil experiencing elbow issues that cost him the remainder of the season.
Gibbons believes there's no reason to expect a decline in their overall performance.
"I don't see why there should be any dropoff," said Gibbons, who added that when that occurs, it's usually an issue of workload. "We're conscious of [their workload]. I don't think there's too much excess that should affect any of them next year."
If that's the case, the Toronto bullpen may emerge even stronger in 2014 with at least four relievers the Blue Jays skipper has faith in.
Evan Peaslee is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.