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Encarnacion doesn't think wrist will be an issue

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Edwin Encarnacion's injured left wrist is back to full strength, and the Blue Jays' first baseman doesn't expect it to become a recurring problem again this season.

Encarnacion dealt with issues in his wrist during the final two months of the 2013 season and eventually had to be shut down late in the year. He underwent season-ending surgery on Sept. 20 and missed out on his quest for 40 homers.

The left wrist had been a nagging problem throughout the course of Encarnacion's nine-year career and eventually prompted the removal of some cartilage during that surgical procedure. He has since received a clean bill of health and will be playing without limitations this spring.

"I feel ready and ready to go," Encarnacion said Saturday morning. "It took almost seven weeks to be 100 percent. I didn't want to hurry my plan to recover, so I took my time to make sure it would be ready."

Encarnacion first began developing problems with his wrist back in 2008 while with the Reds. The discomfort continued the following season in Toronto, and he eventually required surgery to shave a large spur off his hamate bone.

The Dominican native was expected to be ready for Spring Training in 2010, but in reality, it took another full year before his strength returned. If there were any doubts something similar might happen this season, Encarnacion attempted to dismiss them during his live batting practice of the spring by hitting a home run off right-hander Todd Redmond.

Encarnacion doesn't believe the two surgical procedures are comparable, and even though it took him almost two months to fully recover, the wrist didn't have a major impact on his offseason routine. He was still able to go through his regular program, which once again involved working out with Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano and renowned hitting coach Luis Mercedes in the Dominican Republic.

"This time it [wasn't] a big surgery," Encarnacion said. "It was something for clean-up, so I know I'm going to be all right.

"I knew before I came here, I knew I was ready to go, because I was hitting BP in the Dominican. I hit a couple of live BPs and my swing looked great. I'm not worried. I know I'm going to be all right. I just want to make sure my wrist is ready is go, and that's what makes me happy."

Encarnacion once again will be relied upon as a primary component of Toronto's offense. He's expected to bat cleanup behind fellow slugger Jose Bautista and will look to build on a successful 2013 season that saw him hit .272 with a .904 OPS, 36 homers and 104 RBIs in 142 games.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB.
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