TORONTO -- Colby Rasmus is batting just .111 through four games this season, but manager John Farrell is not worried about his starting center fielder, especially after the game he had in Monday's 4-2 loss to the Red Sox.
After making a terrific diving catch in the third to rob Jarrod Saltalamacchia of extra bases, Rasmus followed it up by hitting a triple in the bottom half of the inning and then showed off his speed by scoring on a close play at the plate. In one inning, Rasmus put all of his tools on full display, and the crowd of 48,473 responded with a thunderous ovation.
"I would think it would give him a boost of confidence," Farrell said about Rasmus' play Monday. "Confidence can do a player a world of good. ... He's made a couple of really outstanding defensive plays, one again last night and he's showed off some very good speed. ... He's a [darn] good player."
Following a tumultuous three-year tenure in St. Louis, Rasmus is finally enjoying himself on the field, which he hopes will lead to better results as he embarks on his first full season with the Blue Jays. Last year, he wasn't on the receiving end of too many ovations during his short stint with Toronto after hitting .173 over 35 games, so the applause is something he welcomes.
"I was definitely happy to have everybody cheering for me. ... I'm just happy to play a good game," Rasmus said following Monday's game. "I had a blast in that game. Just playing with these guys, I think we have a great group. ... I think we've got a good thing going."
In a search to become more comfortable at the dish, the 25-year-old has been undergoing a major overhaul with his mechanics at the plate.
"I feel like I've had to start from scratch with my swing, learning my swing again," Rasmus said. "I'm trying to get rid of the leg kick. ... Staying positive is a key for me. Keep working and things will turn out good."
Rasmus didn't need a big game on Monday, however, to impress his manager. Farrell has been pleased with Rasmus' play well before he turned in his best game of the season.
"In Spring Training and the Cleveland series, he took a lot of good swings that didn't have much to show for it. Last night, things clicked for him. He demonstrates the skills that he has. ... We saw a lot of consistency and positive signs there. ... We all have to be very patient at times."
Change in Encarnacion's approach paying off
TORONTO -- Edwin Encarnacion has emerged as the catalyst for the Blue Jays' offense so far this season, behind a modest five-game hitting streak and team-leading five RBIs and three extra-base hits.
Manager John Farrell sees something different in his designated hitter this year and believes a clean bill of health will enable him to thrive.
"From Day 1 of Spring Training, he has had, I think, a much more compact swing," Farrell said. "His wrist, which was nagging him in the past, has cleared up, and because he's feeling physically unlimited, it's showed in the aggressiveness and consistency of the swings."
The Dominican native identified his weaknesses in the offseason and had a specific goal in mind when he arrived in camp this spring.
"I'm more shorter and quick with my swing," Encarnacion said. "My swing before was too long. That's one of the things I worked on a lot this offseason, to get my swing short.
"I changed everything in the offseason -- my approach, my adjustments. I just need to continue to be consistent all season long."
Encarnacion, who hit .272 with 17 home runs and 55 RBIs in 2011, doesn't believe the refined mechanics will limit his power. As for Farrell, he believes the 29-year-old just needs to keep it simple.
"When he gets in trouble is when he chases pitches out of the zone," Farrell said. "Most of the second half of last year, you look at his walks and strikeouts, that was one of the better second halves in the game. I think from that standpoint, his confidence has continued, and he's been able to somewhat pick up where he left off."
Encarnacion hit 11 of his home runs post All-Star break with an on-base plus slugging percentage of .886, compared to .688 in the first half. He also drew 34 of his 43 walks after the Midsummer Classic.
Chris Toman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.