MINNEAPOLIS — When the Yankees didn’t make any major additions prior to the trade deadline in July, general manager Brian Cashman pointed out that he had already made a significant move a month earlier, when Edwin Encarnacion arrived.

And in two games against the Twins in the ALDS, Encarnacion has provided enough offense to make up for any potential lack of starting pitching.

That could change at some point in the postseason, but for now, the Yankees are enjoying seeing this version of their lineup together for the first time — with Encarnacion in the middle of it.

He’s come back from an oblique strain suffered the last part of the regular season and hasn’t missed a beat, going 4-for-9 with a pair of doubles in the two wins heading into Monday’s Game 3 at Target Field.

“Staying aggressive,’’ Encarnacion said through an interpreter of his approach this series. “I’m looking for a fastball that’s a pitch I can hit and I can manage. You know, I swung at a couple breaking balls, as well, but I’ve been able to recognize those pitches and lay off most of them.”

When Encarnacion arrived from Seattle, there was some thought of how he’d fit into an already powerful — and right-handed — lineup. But the constant stream of injuries have made Encarnacion even more of a significant part of the lineup.

Encarnacion has been sidelined, as well, first with a fractured wrist suffered when he was hit by a pitch that kept him out for a month and then the oblique.
Both times, he’s returned in fine form.

Edwin Encarnacion
Edwin EncarnacionAnthony J Causi

“He’s been in the game so long and he doesn’t do much with his swing, so I’m not surprised he can pick back up and look like nothing’s happened,’’ hitting coach Marcus Thames said. “And he knows pitchers. He works hard. He’s hungry.”

It’s all added up to a valuable piece the Yankees got for a reasonable price from Seattle.

The Yankees sent 19-year-old Single-A right-hander Juan Then to the Mariners and for luxury-tax purposes, they are on the hook for roughly $3.4 million.
At the time, Cashman acknowledged that offense was “not an area of weakness,” but that he “can impact our roster in a significant way.”

Aaron Boone understands the impact he’s made.

“To get a guy the caliber of Edwin to add to our team, I think everyone has seen, when he’s been healthy and in our lineup, what a difference-maker he is right in the middle,’’ Aaron Boone said. “He’s a wrecking machine. He’s a great hitter and he’s shown it every step of the way.’’

And with Luke Voit first injured and then unproductive, Encarnacion has been another right-handed power source, alongside Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Gleyber Torres and Giancarlo Stanton.

He’s hoping to continue his hot streak Monday at Target Field — and likes his chances. Encarnacion’s 1.048 OPS here is his highest at any park where he’s played at least 20 games.

“I just see the ball well here and I just enjoy hitting here,’’ Encarnacion said.

And he likes hitting in this lineup, especially now that it’s pretty much full strength.

“It’s definitely one of the better lineups I’ve ever seen,’’ Encarnacion said. “One through nine, it’s impressive. … We finally have the full lineup. They can do damage.”