Tag:Edwin Encarnacion
Posted on: August 2, 2011 10:10 pm
 

Jays' Lawrie close to be called up... again

Brett LawrieBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Once again, Blue Jays prospect Brett Lawrie is knocking on the door of the big leagues.

Lawrie was on the verge of being called up in May when he was hit in the hand by a fastball, suffering a non-displaced fracture in his left hand. But he's back and in 16 games with Triple-A Las Vegas since coming off the disabled list, Lawrie is hitting .344/.417/.625 with three home runs.

Blue Jays manager John Farrell told reporters Lawrie was still in the team's immediate plans.

"We haven't changed from our goal of getting him at-bats and games played at the big-league level prior to September," Farrell told reporters, including Ken Fidlin of QMI Agency.

When he's called up, the team will have to make a decision not at third base, but in right field. Jose Bautista will move from third base to right field. The team could send down either outfielders Travis Snider or Eric Thames, or release designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion.

Thames is hitting .285/.326/.485, while Snider is hitting .236/.282/.368. Both are young, though. Thames is 24 and Snider is just 23. That could mean the odd man out is  Encarnacion. Encarnacion, 28, is hitting .270/.314/.444, but has seen his homers decrease to just nine this season in 325 plate appearances. Last season he had 21 homers in 367 plate appearances.

"The most important thing is that we're getting to a point with our roster that performance -- what you do between the lines -- directly impacts that decision," Farrell said. 

Lawrie was acquired in the offseason in a trade with the Brewers that sent Shaun Marcum to Milwaukee and sent Lawrie, a native of British Columbia, to Toronto.

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Posted on: July 14, 2011 8:42 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2011 9:03 pm
 

Bautista leaves game with ankle injury

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Jose BautistaToronto's Jose Bautista left Thursday's game against the Yankees after the fourth inning with an apparent right ankle injury.

Sliding into third on Edwin Encarnacion's double play ball, Bautista's lead foot could be seen sticking to the ground as he slid. He walked off the field under his own power but was replaced at third base by John McDonald for the top of the fifth.

Bautista had a hit and a walk in three plate appearances before leaving the game.

On the Blue Jays' broadcast, general manager Alex Anthopoulos said Bautista's injury was a "twisted right ankle."

Bautista is arguably the American League MVP so far this season, hitting .334/.468/.702 with 31 home runs and 65 RBI at the break.

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Posted on: July 6, 2011 12:23 am
Edited on: July 6, 2011 11:46 am
 

Umpire's missed call costs Blue Jays

Edwin Encarnacion

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Another day in baseball, another bad call that could have been reversed with the simplest form of instant replay review.

But once again since the play in question wasn't a boundary play, instead a play at the plate, the Blue Jays were dealt a loss instead of getting a chance to play for a win at Fenway Park.

After Jose Bautista's two-run homer off of Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon moved the Jays to within a run, Edwin Encarnacion singled. After J.P. Arencibia's two-out walk, John McDonald singled to left. Red Sox left fielder Darnell McDonald charged the ball and made a good throw to the plate that beat Encarnacion there. Catcher Jason Varitek blocked the plate with his left leg, tying up Encarnacion's lead leg. However, Encarnacion swiped the plate with his other leg, his right, before Varitek could put the tag on him.

Home plate umpire Brian Knight called Encarnacion out, ending the game. Watch the play here.

"We should still be playing right now," Toronto manager John Farrell told reporters (via the Boston Herald). That play is right in front of Brian Knight. It was clear that Edwin did a good job of sliding around the plant leg of 'Tek, but his swipe tag missed him by no less than a foot. So right now we should be out on that field playing."

Farrell said he couldn't see the play live, but when he saw the replay, he knew Encarnacion was safe.

"After the replay, absolutely, because from our vantage point Edwin is right in line with the play at the plate," Farrell said. "But the wide margin which he missed the tag, a little surprised that the call went that way."

It's understandable why Knight called Encarnacion out, but that doesn't make it right. Once again, I'll go into my broken record mode, but the goal of umpires and Major League Baseball should be to get every call right. We have the technology, we should use it. Let the players decide the games, not the umpires.

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Posted on: May 20, 2011 11:23 pm
 

Is Lawrie on his way to Toronto?

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Brett LawrieThe wait for the Great Canadian Hope may not be long. Blue Jays manager John Farrell hinted the team could soon bring up Brett Lawrie to handle the Jays' third base position.

Before Friday's game against the Astros, Farrell was asked whom he considered his everyday third baseman and he mentioned three -- Jayson Nix, John McDonald and Edwin Encarnacion -- before adding "And when Brett Lawrie comes up, there's another one," according to MLB.com.

The Blue Jays acquired Lawrie in the offseason in a trade that sent pitcher Shaun Marcum to Milwaukee and he was quickly the team's top positional prospect.

A native of British Columbia, Lawrie is hitting .337 with a 1.002 OPS and a team-high nine home runs and 32 RBI at Triple-A Las Vegas.

"If he keeps doing what he's doing, he's going to certainly force our hand. I'm not afraid to say that," Blue Jays manager Alex Anthopoulos said.

Lawrie, 21, moved from second base to third base this season and has nine errors for the 51s. However, Lawrie's never been known for his glove, it's his bat that has made him a prized prospect. Last season, as the second-youngest regular in the league, he led the Southern League in hits (158), runs (90), triples (16) and total bases (250).

Anthopoulos said the team has been impressed with his improved plate discipline.

The danger of calling Lawrie up right now is the fear of Super Two status, but some teams have ignored that so far with the possibility of the Super Two going away in the next collective bargaining agreement.

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Posted on: May 19, 2011 2:38 am
 

3 up, 3 down: Peavy masterful

Jake Peavy

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Jake Peavy, White Sox-- While it seemed like a long time coming, Peavy was the Jake Peavy of old, holding the Indians -- who had scored 31 runs in their last three games -- scoreless, allowing just three hits. Peavy struck out nine and walked none. With Ozzie Guillen understandably having little faith in his bullpen, Peavy finished the game in 111 pitches.

Charlie Morton, Pirates -- The Pirates right-hander notched his second complete-game victory over the Reds on Wednesday and the second shutout of his career on Wednesday night. The Pirates victory snapped Pittsburgh's six-game losing streak and the Reds' five-game winning streak. Morton allowed five hits, striking out five and walking two.

Cody Ross, Giants -- Ross picked up Brian Wilson, who blew a save, by launching a three-run homer in the top of the ninth off of the Dodgers' Lance Cormier. Ross was 2 for 5 with three runs scored in the 8-5 Giants victory.


Daric Barton, Athletics -- Barton is a phenomenal defensive first baseman, or at least he has been. On Wednesday, he notched his sixth error of the season and it was costly. After Delmon Young led off the 10th inning with a single, Alexi Casilla popped up a bunt attempt, but Barton elected to let it drop and try to throw Young out at second. Instead, he threw it past second, moving both runners up. Trevor Plouffe (who had a costly error of his own) hit a sacrifice fly to give Minnesota a 4-3 victory and drop the A's out of first place in the American League West. He also filed out to end the game.

Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays -- Encarnacion has earned the nickname "E5" for his play at third base. Well, that changed for a night, at least, as he was instead "E3" -- committed two of the Jays' five errors in the loss to the Rays. Encarnacion has 10 errors this season, seven at third and three at first. The Blue Jays have just 31 total errors, with Encarnacion making up for nearly a third of them.

Mike Aviles, Jarrod Dyson, Royals -- Both entered the game as pinch runners in the ninth after Eric Hosmer's game-tying homer, and both were picked off by Neftali Feliz before Wilson Betemit struck out looking to end the inning. The Royals lost 5-4 in 11 innings.

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Posted on: May 5, 2011 1:02 am
Edited on: May 5, 2011 1:06 am
 

Ump: 'We may have erred'

Joe Maddon

By C. Trent Rosecrans

It's not exactly Jim Joyce costing Armando Galarraga a perfect game, but don't tell that to Rays manager Joe Maddon.

Umpire Joe West said he "may have erred" in reversing a call in the Jays' 3-2 victory over the Rays on Wednesday.

West's explanation is a little confusing, so I'll start with describing the action first.

With one out in the seventh inning and the Jays leading 3-1, the Rays had runners on first and second and Sam Fuld at bat. Fuld hit a grounder to third, where Edwin Encarnacion fielded the ball, stepped on the bag and threw to first, where Adam Lind was pulled off the bag by Encarnacion's wide throw and tried to tag Fuld. West called Fuld safe.

Toronto's Don Wakamatsu, who was the acting manager after John Farrell was ejected earlier in the game, came out to protest and West quickly called Fuld out, ending the inning.

According to a pool reporter (via the National Post), West said second-base umpire Angel Hernandez told him he clearly saw that Lind made the tag. Hernandez also told West that Fuld had reached the base first, but West ignored that part.

"All I asked Angel was did [Lind] tag him, and Angel told me, 'I thought you had [Fuld] safe for being not he bag,'" West said. "I didn't heed that warning.

"I made the judgment based on what I had at first base. So it appears that we may have erred, but we did everything [by] protocol, right by the book. I don't know what else we could have done."

Joe Maddon came out and was promptly tossed from the game.

"If there's any particular play that screams for instant replay, it's that one," Maddon told reporters after the game. "I just don't understand how you can make that call from that distance. I don't believe you can see it properly. That was my argument."

Replays showed Fuld was likely safe -- and West was initially right that Fuld was safe and Hernandez was right that Lind did get a piece of Fuld -- even if it was after Fuld hit the bag.

In the end, Maddon's right -- replay would solve these problems and the game could have been different. A couple of years ago the umpires made a concerted effort to put their egos aside and confer more often on close calls. It was a step in the right direction, but it's about time to not just take steps in the right direction, but to reach the destination of fairness. In the end, the most important thing is getting the calls right, and it doesn't matter how that's achieved.

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Posted on: April 20, 2011 9:18 pm
 

Jays moves: Encarnacion in, Rivera out at DH

By Evan Brunell

EncarnacionThe Jays have only played 17 games but are already changing the structure of the lineup.

Even though the writing has been on the wall for a while, DH Juan Rivera has now officially lost his starting spot. Edwin Encarnacion had been DHing recently with four of his past five games at the spot and is on a tear.

"I think, more than anything, Edwin is more comfortable [as DH]," manager John Farrell told MLB.com. "I think in the current arrangement he feels very good in that role."

Encarnacion is hitting .385 as a DH, but as a third baseman has a paltry .158/.150/.158 line in 19 at-bats with four errors in five games. Despite talking up Encarnacion's improvement as a fielder in spring training, it's abundantly clear EdE belongs as a DH or first baseman. 

"He's on a pretty good run lately," Farrell said. "He's had multiple-hit games. He's swinging the bat with more authority and making more hard contact. It's more like we anticipated from Edwin coming out of Spring Training."

Fortunately for Encarnacion, he's seized an opportunity that Rivera left wide open, as the former Angel still does not have an extra-base hit and is working on a .103/.239/.103 mark in 46 PA.

"The expectation of playing every day coming out of Spring Training was there and he was our DH," Farrell noted. "Yet every player knows that there is going to be opportunity, but production and performance begin to factor in."

They certainly have for Rivera, whose shown no capability in the early going. That's unfortunate for Toronto, who was hoping to trade Rivera and break an outfield logjam. Rivera was acquired along with Mike Napoli in the Vernon Wells deal. The Jays were able to spin Napoli to Texas for reliever Frank Francisco, but may be forced to carry Rivera all season, and certainly will have to if he doesn't get hot.

"I know he's frustrated -- he has said as much," Farrell continued. "In conversations with him, and talking with him about certain things, when things don't go quite as expected, maybe the thought process gets a little bit too entailed and doesn't free him up to allow his abilities to play out, particularly at the plate, where he can."

With Rivera hitting the pine and Encarnacion now becoming the full-time DH, Jayson Nix will make third base his home. Nix hasn't shown he can hit, but has a strong glove and in the early going has a .238/.360/.429 line in 50 PA after coming over from Cleveland where he hit .234/.288/.422 in 306 PA with 13 home runs. He also showed power but a lousy batting average in his stint for the White Sox after being acquired from the Rockies. Nix better profiles as a bench player, but for now will occupy third base until Brett Lawrie is ready for the majors, if that ever occurs. Lawrie, a top hitting prospect, is transitioning from second to third in Triple-A and has struggled in the early going.

"In this situation, I think it gets the best abilities out of all," Farrell said. "I think with our current roster and alignment, this gives us our best overall fit."

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Posted on: April 4, 2011 3:37 pm
 

Defense costing teams early

Aubrey Huff

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Sunday afternoon the sight of Aubrey Huff diving in right field was a joking matter. The night before he made a diving catch and then before batting practice his teammates put a faux-chalk outline of his dive in the Dodger Stadium grass.

A couple of hours later, it wasn't so funny.

In the first inning on Sunday, Huff dove on a Jamey Carroll liner which ended up a triple and helped the Dodgers score three in the inning. In the seventh inning, Huff also lost a ball over his head by Marcus Thames, good for another triple and driving in the go-ahead run.

One scout told CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler that the Giants defense is "going to be an issue."

The Giants made their decision leaving camp that their defense would be secondary to scoring runs, as the team kept rookie first baseman Brandon Belt on the roster -- and it's not Belt that's the problem, he's a good defender. It's that in order to keep Huff and Belt in the lineup, Huff went to right field. And as right fielder's go, he's showing he's a first baseman.

I don't actually fault Huff, he's going out there and giving it his best and doing what the team asks him to do -- ultimately, it's just a flawed strategy putting Huff in the outfield. When Cody Ross is ready to come off the disabled list -- which is still at least two weeks away -- the Giants will be better at that spot, but they'll also have a decision between Belt and Huff -- or benching Pat Burrell and keeping Huff in the outfield. That said, the Giants will still have Miguel Tejada at shortstop.

But it's not just the Giants that are struggling defensively.

RangersThe Giants' World Series opponents last fall started off their season with a fielding error on the first batter of the season when Julio Borbon ran into Nelson Cruz.

The Cardinals seemed to be one team unconcerned about defense this offseason and could be concerned as the season goes along. The team added 35-year-old Lance Berkman, who hadn't played in the outfield since since 2007, to play every day in right field and got rid of one of baseball's best defensive shortstops, Brendan Ryan, and replaced him with an average second baseman in Ryan Theriot.

Theriot is the only National League player with two errors through Sunday's game, while in the American League one notoriously bad fielder (Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion) and one remarkably good fielder (Oakland's Daric Barton) have three errors each. 

There have been 68 errors this season through 46 games (following Sunday's games). That's only one more error than there was through 46 games last season (and 15 more than there was through 46 games in 2009).

That said, we all know errors aren't the best way to measure defense, there are plenty of examples of bad defense that didn't include an error in the boxscore.

On Sunday, the Cubs' defense let down closer Carlos Marmol. With one out and runners at second and third, Pedro Alvarez hit a dribbler to shortstop Starlin Castro who unloaded a bad throw to first, allowing two runs to score and the Pirates to get the win.

Milwaukee's Casey McGehee has had two costly decisions in the team's sweep at the hands of the Reds. In the ninth inning of Thursday's opener, McGehee failed to tag Brandon Phillips going to third, setting up the Reds' walk-off victory. On Sunday, McGehee went home and failed to get an out on a Drew Stubbs chopper, which led to a game-turned three-run homer by Phillips in the fourth. And that's two entire instances of the Brewers' bad defense without mentioning Yuniesky Betancourt, who the team had to take to get Zack Greinke, but didn't have to make their everyday shortstop. According to John Dewan's +/- system, no defensive player in baseball has cost their team more runs over the last three seasons than Betancourt's -66.

David Pinto over at Baseball Musings noted BABIP (batting average on balls in play) over the first weekend was .300, while it was .291 last season. That stat tells you a ball in the field was more likely to be fielded a year ago than it was this weekend.

Now, we're just 47 games into the 2011 season, so it's way too early to make any real conclusions about errors and defense as a whole, but it is something to watch. 

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com