TORONTO -- The Blue Jays celebrated Canada Day by donning special red jerseys for the country's 146th birthday, and by beating the Tigers, 8-3, in front of a sellout crowd of 45,766 at Rogers Centre.
Toronto matched up against the Tigers in the only matinee affair in the Major Leagues on Monday afternoon. In many ways, it was an ideal time for the two teams to take the field against each other considering their long rivalry and the 4 1/2-hour drive between the two cities.
The first 20,000 fans in attendance for the sold-out game received a red replica Blue Jays hat, while one lucky fan received a 2013 Honda Civic Touring Sedan during the game.
Pregame festivities included a party outside Rogers Centre, with interactive activities, games and prizes. Canadian Indy Car driver Alex Tagliani threw out the first pitch, and 2nd lieutenant Scotty Newlands sang the national anthems.
Encarnacion scratched due to sore hammy
TORONTO -- Edwin Encarnacion was a late scratch from the Blue Jays' lineup on Monday afternoon because of a sore left hamstring.
Encarnarion was originally expected to start at designated hitter, batting third, but was removed approximately 30 minutes prior to first pitch.
The 30-year-old has also been dealing with a sore wrist in recent days, but Monday afternoon marked the first time he actually had to be held out of the lineup.
"[Sunday] his hamstring tightened up on him and today when he was down in the cage getting ready for the game it was grabbing him, something there that wasn't normal," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said after his club's 8-3 victory over the Tigers on Monday afternoon. "It made sense to give him the day, we don't want that to turn into anything major. Hopefully it's not a long-term thing, we don't think it will be."
Even if the injury doesn't get any worse, it's another setback to a suddenly depleted roster that is being forced to compete with a short bench. Toronto has carried an eight-man bullpen for most of the season, which leaves just three extra position players at Gibbons' disposal.
That hasn't caused any problems in the past, but it could become a concern now for an organization that has Encarnacion, Adam Lind and Mark DeRosa dealing with various ailments.
Lind was held out of Monday's starting lineup with soreness in his back. DeRosa needed a day off on Sunday to deal with a neck issue that surfaced during batting practice, but the fact that he was cleared to play at first base on Monday afternoon meant the Blue Jays could avoid making a roster move.
That could change in the coming days if either Encarnacion, Lind or DeRosa needs an extended period of time off, but in the meantime the Blue Jays are hoping to navigate their way through the less-than-ideal situation. With Josh Thole catching R.A. Dickey, J.P. Arencibia filled in as DH and went 1-for-4 with a two-run single and three strikeouts.
Said Gibbons of DeRosa, who hit an opposite-field three-run homer in Monday's win: "He's alright to go, he's doesn't feel great but he's that type of guy. He had it a little earlier in the year, got through it, and then was taking some swings in the cage and aggravated it.
"We don't think so, not at this point," Gibbons added about a potential roster move. "We'll see how the next couple of days goes, but we don't think any of those [injuries are] anything major."
The Blue Jays are also dealing with injuries to left fielder Melky Cabrera and third baseman Brett Lawrie. Both players are on the 15-day disabled list and are unlikely to return until after the All-Star Break.
Lind hopeful he can avoid a DL stint
TORONTO -- The back issues that plagued Adam Lind in each of the past three seasons have resurfaced, and all he can do is hope it doesn't become another long-term issue.
Toronto's first baseman/designated hitter was forced to leave Sunday afternoon's game against the Red Sox in the third inning after aggravating his back while attempting to catch a pop fly in shallow right field.
Lind strained a muscle in his mid-back area and is currently listed as day to day but -- at least for now -- remains optimistic that he can avoid a stint on the 15-day disabled list. He didn't play in Monday's 8-3 win over the Tigers, and his replacement, Mark DeRosa, hit a three-run homer.
"Right now, hopefully it's just a couple days," Lind said. "I came out of the game so it would only be a couple days instead of trying to play through it and turn it into a month. That's the reason.
"I could have come out [of games] the last few years, but I decided to try to stick it out and play and a few extra innings, and it results in a month on the DL. I didn't want to put myself through that again, so it seemed like the smart thing to do."
The fact that Lind's back has become a concern again this season doesn't exactly come as a surprise considering his history. The native of Indiana missed 28 games in 2012 and an additional 24 in 2011 because of various back ailments.
The soreness is in a different spot this year, but it's an overall problem Lind has been forced to manage on a semi-regular basis and one that is unlikely to completely disappear over time.
Lind's injury could not have come at much of a worse time for the Blue Jays. The eight-year veteran has been one of the hottest hitters in the American League, as evidenced by his .361 average (60-for-166) with 11 homers, 30 RBIs and a 1.017 OPS since May 7.
"I was pretty distraught, especially for a couple innings," Lind said about suffering the injury. "It took the doctor like four innings to get to the clubhouse. It was just like, 'C'mon.' I was pretty shook up.
"He did two tests and they weren't exactly detailed tests. He was like, 'Ah, it's a muscle strain.' So hopefully they're right and I'll be back out there [Tuesday] or Wednesday."