Topic: Juan Encarnacion

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Juan De Dios Encarnación (born March 8, 1976, in Las Matas de Farfan, Dominican Republic) is a former Major League Baseball outfielder. His last major league team was the St. Louis Cardinals. Encarnación suffered a career-ending injury after getting hit in the eye by a foul ball on August 31, 2007.

Encarnación was signed by the Detroit Tigers as an amateur free agent in 1992, at age 17, and made his Major League debut in 1997 at age 21 for the Tigers. He was the fourth youngest player in the AL that year. Encarnación played for the Tigers until 2002, when he was traded and had his best season as a Cincinnati Red and Florida Marlin, hitting a career-high 24 home runs and driving in 85 runs. In 2003 he had 94 RBI as well as a team-leading 37 doubles on the way to a World Series ring with Florida, then was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in December of that year. He was traded back to Florida midway through the 2004 season along with Paul Lo Duca and Guillermo Mota for Brad Penny, Bill Murphy, and Hee Seop Choi after hitting a disappointing .235 in 86 games. Encarnación bounced back with a solid year in 2005, batting .287 with 16 homers and 76 runs batted in. He was also on the roster for the Dominican team in the inaugural World Baseball Classic. Encarnación signed a three-year contract with St. Louis on December 23, 2005, worth $15 million.

Encarnación finished the 2006 season, his first with the Cardinals, batting .278 with 19 home runs and 79 RBI for the Cards, with 6 steals. He led the Cardinals in games played (153) and at bats (557), was third in runs scored (74), second in hits (155), fourth in doubles (25), tied for first with Aaron Miles in triples (5), tied for fourth with Jim Edmonds in home runs (19), third in RBI (79), third in total bases (247), tied for eighth with Chris Duncan in walks (30), third in strikeouts (86), sixth in steals (6), second in caught stealing (5), 11th in on-base percentage (.317), sixth in slugging average (.443), and seventh in batting average (.278). He also had 265 put-outs, 4 assists, and 6 errors in 275 total chances, for a .978 fielding percentage.

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