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Encarnacion ends rehab stint, leaves Bisons to rejoin Blue Jays in Chicago

The Bisons complete their four-game series with the Norfolk Tides today at 1 in Coca-Cola Field but the bad news if you're coming downtown is you won't get a final look at rehabbing Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion.

The Toronto first baseman/DH, who blasted a grand slam here Tuesday night, has left the Herd and headed to Chicago. He's expected to play for the Blue Jays there Friday night, his first game since suffering a strained quadriceps muscle July 5 in Oakland.

"He looks fine. I think the determining factor really is how much they need his bat in the lineup right now," manager Gary Allenson told The News this morning. "Is he 100 percent healthy? I don't really know. Maybe not. But that's not going to be the point right now. Getting that bat in the lineup that drives in the runs is what you need. They haven't been swinging the bats too good or scoring many runs up there. It's obviously a big bat they need."

The Blue Jays were blanked in Seattle, 2-0, late Wednesday night as the Mariners completed a three-game sweep while holding the Jays to just four runs. Counting Sunday's 19-inning win over Detroit, Toronto has scored just five runs in its last 37 innings and needs the first-half bat of Encarnacion, who was leading the majors with 26 homers and 77 RBIs at the time of his injury.

Encarnacion went 2 for 8 in his two games with the Bisons, going 1 for  4 in each outing. He had the grand slam on Tuesday and a single up the middle on Wednesday. He was able to run hard on a couple of groundballs and played Wednesday's entire game at first base.

"He didn't get plays over there but he took some scoops, did some stretches so that was good," Allenson said. "As for his running, he looked all right out there. He's not a burner out there anyway. It's really something he has to gauge on his own."

Allenson said Blue Jays officials and Encarnacion combined to make the decision to head to Chicago and skip the series finale, especially since it was a day game after a night game.

"It's a little tougher at times to get loose for these day games,"Allenson said. "Especially a guy coming off a leg injury."

And the weather in Buffalo isn't helping, with the 10 a.m. temperature downtown a very fall-like 60 degrees.

We'll have more information about today's game coming in an upcoming post.