CHICAGO -- Blue Jays manager John Farrell unveiled a dramatically different lineup for Tuesday's series opener against the White Sox.
With cleanup hitter Edwin Encarnacion currently day to day with a right-hand injury, Farrell opted for wholesale changes to his batting order.
Kelly Johnson and Yunel Escobar were dropped from the top two spots to No. 4 and No. 5 in the order, while third baseman Brett Lawrie was inserted into the leadoff position for the first time in his professional career.
"Depends on what kind of hitter you are," Lawrie said when asked if he had to make an adjustment because of the change. "I'm not built as a leadoff hitter, I'm built as a 3-4-5 hitter, I think that's where I'm built and I'm going to continue to do that.
"I don't feel I have to change much, I'm not going to let pitches go by just for the sake of letting them go by. I've got to hit fastballs and continue what I've been doing."
The lineup changes have less to do with getting Lawrie, who went 3-for-5 in the Blue Jays' 9-5 victory, into the top spot than they are about getting Johnson and Escobar into positions where they have the ability to drive in more runs.
With Encarnacion out of the lineup, the Blue Jays are severely lacking run producers to insert behind No. 3 hitter Jose Bautista. Johnson's nine home runs and Escobar's ability to make contact help address that concern, according to Farrell.
"Yunel's ability to put the ball in play and really is not susceptible to strikeouts," Farrell said. "I think this gives him a chance to get into those RBI situations. Against a left-hander we'll probably take a different look than today's lineup, but Yunel has the ability to be an RBI type of guy because he's a high contact hitter and hopefully we create some opportunities for him to do just that."
Chavez optioned to make room for Gomes
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays optioned right-hander Jesse Chavez to Triple-A Las Vegas following Tuesday night's 9-5 victory over the White Sox to make room on the 25-man roster for utility man Yan Gomes.
Chavez made just one appearance for Toronto and allowed three earned runs in five innings during a relief outing against the Rangers. He will now return to the starting rotation in Las Vegas and continue to provide organizational depth.
The return of Gomes marks the end of an eight-man bullpen that the club had been using for the past two weeks. Gomes previously appeared in eight games for the Blue Jays this season and hit .227 with two home runs and five RBIs in 22 at-bats.
Gomes will provide manager John Farrell with added versatility off the bench. He has the ability to play catcher, first, third and possibly even left field.
"I think our ability to go back to seven relievers is key for us," Farrell said. "It gives us another potent right-handed bat to go up against a left-hander. There's a good chance he'll be on the field [Wednesday] against [White Sox left-hander Jose] Quintana. His versatility, his right-handed bat and he showed very well in the time he was here previously."
Gomes hit .349 with seven homers and 30 RBIs in 41 games with Las Vegas this season.
Encarnacion out of lineup with sore right hand
CHICAGO -- Edwin Encarnacion was held out of the Blue Jays' lineup on Tuesday night against the White Sox because of a sore right hand.
Encarnacion sustained the injury when he was hit by a fastball from Boston's Daniel Bard on Sunday afternoon. Encarnacion temporarily remained in the game but eventually had to be lifted for a pinch-hitter.
Toronto's designated hitter initially feared the hand was broken, but a series of X-rays and CT scans ruled out that possibility.
"The first day was bad, a lot of pain, a lot of soreness but today I'm feeling a lot better," Encarnacion said. "It's getting better and better and I just have to keep doing my routine, doing my training and see how I'll be tomorrow."
Encarnacion is currently listed as day to day, but he has yet to swing a bat since suffering the injury. He has undergone various treatments such as laser, ultrasound and hot/cold water therapy to keep the swelling down and remains optimistic about a return to the lineup in the near future.
"With the pain I had that day, I thought it was broken, but thank God I'm OK and it's not," Encarnacion said.
"If I play the way I feel right now, if I make contact, I'm going to have a lot of pain in my hand. I want to be smart and get ready. I think tomorrow will be a lot better."
Encarnacion entered play on Tuesday as the leader among designated hitters with 17 home runs and 43 RBIs in 54 games this season. He also is batting .279 with a .926 OPS as the club's primary cleanup hitter.