Alex Anthopoulos recalled an informal clubhouse chat he had with Edwin Encarnacion this season that reinforced everything the Blue Jays general manager had been thinking about his newly extended first baseman. "I had a long talk with Edwin . . . Yunel Escobar was there too, they were hanging around the clubhouse long after a game," Anthopoulos said as he announced Encarnacion's three-year, $27 million contract extension (with a $10 million club option for the 2016 season). "I said, 'I guess when I sent you down (to the minors) you didn't like me very much . . . but it definitely helped you. I think when you hit rock bottom, you can learn a lot about yourself.'" Anthopoulos went on to detail the fortitude Encarnacion showed in overcoming that disappointment. The 29-year-old, who is now the Jays' cleanup hitter and an integral part of a second-half challenge that opens Friday night against Cleveland, similarly fought through waivers and being designated for assignment — one of baseball's lowest blows, and a move that can sometimes sound the death knell for a player's career. Now, Encarnacion is one of the game's feel-good stories, a quiet, hard worker who overcame those obstacles to sign the first long-term contract of his career.