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Blue Jays' Encarnacion sidelined by strained side

DUNEDIN — Blue Jays 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion will be sidelined for at least a week because of a strained side.

Manager John Gibbons called it a "minor oblique problem" and said he expects Encarnacion to be ready for the April 3 opener at the Rays.

The two-time All-Star was expected to make his spring training debut this week. Encarnacion already has missed more than two weeks recovering from an abscessed tooth that was pulled Feb. 28.

Encarnacion batted .277 with a .372 on-base percentage and a .557 slugging percentage last season, helping lead Toronto to its first AL East title in 22 years.

GAME DETAILS: RHP Jesse Chavez, a candidate for the fifth spot in the rotation, gave up two earned runs on five hits in three innings in a 6-6 game with the Orioles. Chavez, who was acquired in a November trade from Oakland, walked one and struck out one.

Yanks: Gardner to return

TAMPA — LF Brett Gardner, who has been sidelined while recovering from an injury suffered in the playoffs, is scheduled to get his first Grapefruit League at-bats tonight against the Blue Jays.

Gardner suffered a deep bone bruise in his left wrist while crashing into the outfield wall during the American League wild-card game against the Astros.

"It's been a little while, but I've still been here getting my work in and I feel great," Gardner told mlb.com. "I'm ready to get some live ABs. I'm excited to get out there in a real game with the defense out there."

Gardner said he expects to get three at-bats while playing the outfield against Toronto.

Phils: Step forward for Nola

PORT CHARLOTTE — RHP Aaron Nola looked sharp in his third spring outing, pitching into the fifth inning of Philadelphia's 5-2 victory over the Rays.

Nola, 22, allowed two runs and six hits in 42/3 innings, striking out five. It was his best outing this spring by far after giving up a combined six runs and eight hits over 42/3 innings in his first two starts.

"I definitely felt better with all my pitches. My body felt better, felt like it was more in sync," Nola said.

"He looked more like himself," manager Pete Mackanin said. "He located his pitches real well. He just made a couple of mistakes."

Blue Jays' Encarnacion sidelined by strained side 03/15/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 15, 2016 8:58pm]
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