Encarnacion is in a walking boot, but may play vs. Yankees

Edwin Encarnacion showed up for the Indians’ workout at Yankee Stadium on Saturday on crutches and with his right foot in a walking boot.

It was hardly ideal for a team that is looking to close out the Yankees in the Game 3 of ALDS on Sunday in The Bronx, but manager Terry Francona refused to say the slugger would be unavailable after Encarnacion left Game 2 on Friday with a sprained right ankle suffered when he tried to get back to second base in the bottom of the first inning and his foot bent awkwardly.

“He is, I would say, I don’t know if remarkably better is a good word, but pretty close,” Francona said before the Indians held an optional workout in The Bronx. “He’s doing much better. I don’t think he’s going to start [Sunday], but he’s not been ruled out, either. So we’ll take our time and allow to him continue to get treatment.”

Francona said was pleased with the progress the DH had made in less than 24 hours and called the situation “day-to-day.”

“If he’s that close to being available, that’s a really good sign,’’ Francona said. “So we’re obviously not going to do anything roster-wise.”

If they did, then Encarnacion would not only be out for the remainder of the ALDS, but the ALCS, as well.

Francona said that if Encarnacion can’t go Sunday, Michael Brantley — who replaced Encarnacion in the second inning on Friday — would take his spot.

“That’s easy,” Francona said. “As far as the lineup goes, I don’t know yet. I mean, one, we’ve got to check on Edwin. And then we’ll put it together.”

The Yankees, one defeat away from elimination, would certainly benefit from Encarnacion’s absence.

“Obviously, he’s a very productive hitter and he’s been a productive home run hitter for a long, long time,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “He hits right-handers and left-handers. We’re probably going to see Brantley [Sunday], who is a very good hitter in his own right.’’

Brantley hasn’t started a game since injuring his right ankle Aug. 8. He went 1-for-3 in the Indians’ last two games of the regular season then 0-for-5 after taking over for Encarnacion in Cleveland’s 13-inning win in Game 2.

Brantley is 3-for-7 with two doubles and a homer against Tanaka, though all of that production came in one game in 2014. Encarnacion is 10-for-22 versus the right-hander, also with two doubles and a homer.

“It’s going to change their lineup, but they’re putting in a very good hitter to replace him, I’m sure,’’ Girardi said.

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