MINNEAPOLIS -- The severe left ankle injury that Jose Reyes suffered earlier this season appears to be a thing of the past, and the former All-Star is back to his old self on the field.
Reyes missed two and a half months earlier this season after he sprained his ankle while attempting to steal second base in a game against the Royals. He returned in late June, but it wasn't until recently that Reyes looked pain-free while going through his daily activities.
Reyes' range at shortstop has greatly improved, while he also appears to be running the bases with a lot more ease. The pain was expected to linger until the offseason, but it has started to go away, and Reyes said he's thinking about it less and less as each day goes by.
"I feel like it's way better," Reyes said. "The last two weeks, it has come along very good. I feel a lot looser. I still feel it a little bit, but it's way better than it was before. So, that's good to see, and I feel happy about it that I can run on the field, do my stuff, without thinking about anything else."
Reyes rushed back to the big leagues and was cleared to play when doctors determined he wasn't at risk of doing more damage to the ankle. It was a grind until recently, and a right knee injury made things even worse, but for the most part, he has been able to play through the pain.
The 30-year-old has a special brace that he'll wear for the rest of his career and continues to do daily stretches and exercises specifically designed for the ankle in an attempt to avoid future injuries.
Reyes will get all the rest he needs during the offseason, but for now his main goal is to finish the year strong.
"The season isn't over yet, and I feel that good," Reyes said. "I still feel it a little bit, but it's way better than it was months ago. Hopefully, I'll keep feeling better, and I can go into the offseason with a better idea and go to Spring Training 100 percent, and do what I do best, just play my game."
Despite results, Drabek's return an accomplishment
MINNEAPOLIS -- Kyle Drabek stepped onto a Major League mound on Saturday night for the first time in almost 15 months.
Drabek missed a significant amount of time after he underwent Tommy John surgery last June. It was his second time having the procedure, but he is well on his road to recovery and should be at full strength by the start of next season.
The return wasn't necessarily pretty, as Drabek failed to retire a batter, surrendering three singles and issuing a walk before he was pulled from the game, but the results are taking a backseat to the overall accomplishment of getting back on the hill.
"I felt comfortable out there. I just didn't throw a curveball for a strike or was just missing around the plate," Drabek said.
"I guess coming out of the 'pen, it's a little different, but my arm felt great. I had no arm issues, just missing the plate."
Drabek won't admit it, but nerves likely played at least some kind of role in his underwhelming season debut. The Blue Jays certainly aren't overly concerned, and while it remains uncertain whether Drabek will have an opportunity to start before the end of the year, he'll at the very least get a few more innings out of the bullpen.
The 25-year-old was a September callup after he appeared in four games -- including three starts -- for Triple-A Buffalo. Drabek posted a 3.77 ERA in 14 1/3 innings, and perhaps the most encouraging sign was that he walked just two batters.
"I'm excited to be here. That was just the first time. Hopefully, it doesn't happen the second time, but as long as my arm feels good, I'm happy," Drabek said.
Encarnacion sits Sunday with sore wrist
MINNEAPOLIS -- Edwin Encarnacion was held out of the Blue Jays' lineup on Sunday afternoon because of a sore left wrist.
Encarnacion tweaked his wrist on a swing during Saturday night's game against the Twins, but he's not expected to miss a significant period of time.
The Blue Jays have an off-day on Monday, which will allow the veteran first baseman to have two full days of rest. Encarnacion remains optimistic that is all the time he will need, and he could possibly start on Tuesday in Toronto against the Angels.
Encarnacion is hitting .276 with a .375 on-base percentage along with 36 home runs and 104 RBIs in 139 games. He is attempting to become the first Blue Jays player to hit at least 40 homers in back-to-back seasons since Jose Bautista did it in 2010-11.
Right fielder Moises Sierra made his return to the Blue Jays lineup on Sunday, just one day after he departed a game against Minnesota because of tightness in his lower back. Sierra wasn't expected to miss much time. He arrived at Target Field on Sunday morning and was given the green light to start by the club's medical staff.