Jun 22, 2010, 6:30 PM EDT
The Blue Jays won’t be going back to Jose Bautista at the hot corner after designating Edwin Encarnacion for assignment on Monday. Manager Cito Gaston said Tuesday that Jarrett Hoffpauir would take over as the everyday third baseman, with Bautista remaining in right field.
It’s a huge break for Hoffpauir. Formerly a second baseman in the Cardinals system, he put up solid numbers on an annual basis, yet he was given just 12 at-bats at the major league level before being dropped from the 40-man roster last winter. The Blue Jays claimed him off waivers and watched him hit .328/.378/.532 for Triple-A Las Vegas.
Of course, that was Las Vegas. Hoffpauir was batting .383/.434/.670 in one of the best hitting environments in the minors. In road games, he was at a far more modest .275/.323/.400. Two-thirds of his extra-base hits came at home.
Hoffpauir’s big chance comes just days after he turned 27 on June 18. He’ll probably have only a few weeks to establish himself, given that the Jays expect Travis Snider back after the All-Star break. With Snider back in the outfield, the Jays would have more incentive to use Bautista at third.
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