After the 2011 season, Brett Lawrie was poised to become the next big thing for the Toronto Blue Jays. Now, halfway through 2013, he can't even make it on to the major league team. Jason Mastrodonato of MLB.com says that the Jays will keep Lawrie (ankle) in the minors when they activate him from the DL, with manager John Gibbons prepared to leave him down until his bat heats up.
"We want him playing good before he comes back," Gibbons said. "We jumped the gun a little bit and brought him back out of necessity, and he probably wasn't ready to face Major League pitching. So a slow start to that magnifies it. And his personality, he fights it. He's one of those guys who tries harder and harder. Sometimes that's when this game gets tougher to play. So I think a lot of that was a big part of it."
After sustaining a rib injury while preparing for the World Baseball Classic, Lawrie started the season on the DL and returned on April 16th after just two rehab games, hence Gibbons saying they 'jumped the gun'. He went on the DL again at the end of May and only started his rehab assignment early this week.
The news that Lawrie will stay in the minors comes despite the fact that the Jays do not have a regular third baseman right now. Maicer Izturis is playing there most often, with 18 starts this season, but Mark DeRosa also has 11 starts and Edwin Encarnacion has made 9. Izturis has made 270 of his 694 career starts at third, with 245 at second and 179 at shortstop, so he is used to being shuffled around the infield. Lawrie's 2011 callup came after he hit .353/.415/.661 in 69 games for Triple-A Las Vegas, so he will be hoping to replicate that performance to get back to the majors as soon as possible.
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