Tagged: Brett Lawrie

Lawrie up, Kawasaki down

For those who missed it this weekend, the Blue Jays have brought up Brett Lawrie – as a 2B.  This move is a bit of a head scratcher to me.  I think Lawrie is certainly athletic enough to play 2B, but there is no viable, long-term replacement at 3B on the roster in my opinion.  The Jays plan to use Maicer Izturis and Mark DeRosa at the hot corner for now.  Is there something in the works to acquire a premier 3B before the trade deadline?

The Jays are saying they see SS Jose Reyes and Lawrie setting up as a long-term double-play team.  Yet even Reyes says that the transition for Lawrie probably would be easier if it had of happened in Spring Training either this year or next.  For the record, Reyes believes Lawrie is more than capable of playing 2B – he just thinks it would be an easier move if Lawrie had more reps.

Lawrie went 1 – 8 at the plate in his first two games back and didn’t commit an error with limited chances at 2B.

Again, this move is a bit bizarre to me but we’ll see how it plays out.

The odd-man-out is once again Munenori Kawasaki.  Kaswasaki was optioned to triple-A to make room for Lawrie.

The Jays are still carrying an 8-man bullpen but will likely go back to a traditional 7-man ‘pen when Melky Cabrera comes back from the DL shortly or immediately after the allstar break.  Barring any trades (think Darren Oliver), the Jays will likely send down Neil Wagner simply because everyone in the ‘pen is pitching so well and he is the guy with minor league options.

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Injury Report – Morrow, Santos, Lawrie

Here’s a bit of insight into how a few of our boys are progressing with rehab:

Brandon Morrow – He threw 25 pitches during a side session on Tuesday and is scheduled to throw again on Friday.  Morrow has been on the DL since May 28 because of soreness in his right forearm.  At first, the Jays thought Morrow would only require the minimum 15 days off but it now looks like he won’t be able to rejoin the team until sometime in August (big surprise).  The Jays want Morrow, 28, to make at least 3 rehab starts and there is still no timetable of when he’ll make his first of the three.  After his session of Friday, we could hear more.  Stay tuned.

Sergio Santos –  He has been making appearances in single-A but has not been able to pitch on back-to-back days – something the Jays say is a must before he rejoins the team.  Arguably the biggest offseason acquisition two years ago, Santos has only pitched in 11 games for the Jays and has lost his closer role.  The surgery to remove bone spurs from his right elbow appears to have been successful and Santos is optimistic that he’ll be able to return shortly after the allstar break (although this is the same Santos that said he wouldn’t have to go on the DL – twice).

Brett Lawrie – He was promoted from double-A to triple-A and played for Buffalo last night going 2-4 with a homer, 3 RBI, and a stolen base.  During 3 games in double-A, Lawrie went 3 – 9 with four walks.  Interestingly, the Jays had Lawrie play 2B last night in triple-A, not his usually 3B.  To me, it seems unlikely that Lawrie will move to 2B unless the Jays acquire another player to play 3B.  It makes more sense to have current fill-in, Maicer Izturis, play 2B.  I suppose you could have Edwin Encarnacion play 3B and move Lawrie to 2B, but that leave Adam Lind at 1B with no power DH bat.  Perhaps this is just a move to see what Lawrie looks like for when the Jays play interleague and lose the DH.  In that case, it would make sense to get Lawrie some reps at 2B.  The 23-year-old is recovering from an ankle sprain and could rejoin the team at anytime.  The Jays simply want to make sure Lawrie’s timing at the plate is back and not rush him.  If he has another solid offensive performance in his next triple-A game, I imagine the Jays will immediately move him to the big club and cut Munenori Kawasaki.     

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Injury Update – Lawrie and Cabrera

In case you’ve been wondering the status of either Brett Lawrie’s rehab or Melky Cabrera’s wonky knee, I’d thought I’d give you a brief update.

Brett Lawrie – After playing 6 games low-A, Lawrie has now joined the organization’s double-A team.  The Jays are intent of giving Lawrie as much time as he needs to get his timing down at the plate after rushing him off the DL in April.  In low-A, Lawrie went 0 – 6 with 2 walks.  The 23-year-old 3B was batting .209 with a .268 obp in 37 games before spraining his ankle.  It’s reported the Jays are not asking Lawrie to make any mechanical adjustments to his “moving-parts” swing.  Why they aren’t taking the opportunity to do this now is beyond me.

Melky Cabrera – It’s no surprise that even though Cabrera will be eligible to come off the DL two games prior to the allstar break that the team will likely use the break as a few extra days off before having Cabrera return to the club.  The LF did some running this week and has been constantly taking batting practice.  All signs point to Cabrera joining the team immediately following the allstar break.

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Lawrie getting into rehab games

It appears as if Brett Lawrie is making progress.  The Blue Jays’ 3B finally got into some rehab play earlier this week at the single-A level.  Lawrie has been out since May 27 with a sprained ankle.

The Jays figure Lawrie will need two weeks of minor league action before rejoining the big club.  He’ll likely play a couple games in single-A and then transition to triple-A much like Jose Reyes did during his rehab.

Lawrie got off to a dreadful start after being rushed through a previous rehab assignment to start his season.  He hit only .209 in 37 games.  The Jays do, however, miss Lawrie’s glove at 3B.  And with no Melky Cabrera in the line up (put on DL last Thursday), I’m sure the Jays will welcome the 23-year-old’s bat.

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Reyes status – who goes down?

The Blue Jays are having Jose Reyes play at least one more game in triple-A.  Whether the team doesn’t want to do anything to break up the superstitions surrounding its franchise-record-tying winning streak or Reyes just needs a few more at bats is a question.

Reyes went 2-5 with 2 singles yesterday for Buffalo.  In six games between triple-A and single-A, he is 8-22 (.364).  Reyes also stole another base yesterday, and he also scored from second on a hit up the middle.  He seems to be running and rounding the bases on the previously sprained ankle just fine.

Alex Anthopoulos has not given an exact date when Reyes will be back with the big club, but hinted that his return might not come until the team travels to Boston on Thursday for a 4-game series.  Anthopoulos said that Reyes is being evaluated day by day and could return at anytime.  But he also mentioned that he might play today in Buffalo and then a couple games in New Hampshire, the Jays double-A team, which is logistically on the route to Boston.

The bigger question than “when will Reyes be back?” is “who leaves the team when Reyes inevitably comes back?”.

While nobody knows for sure, I have a feeling I know what move the Jays are leaning towards.  I also have my own view (big surprise, eh?).

Jays take

Nobody wants to mess with the clubhouse chemistry right now and it appears Munenori Kawasaki is a big part of that.  The Jays are carrying 8 men in the bullpen while the norm is 7.  Kawasaki’s recent heroics and fan chants buy him a few more weeks with the club and the Jays make a move by trying to sneak left-handed Juan Perez through waivers and do not succeed.  Perez and his affordable $380K contract are claimed by a team looking for lefty help in its bullpen.  Kawasaki gets extremely limited playing time with the return of Reyes, plus the crowded infield of Maicer Izturis, Emilio Bonifacio, and Mark DeRosa and is sent to triple-A when Brett Lawrie returns shortly after the allstar break.  Kawasaki gets an honourable call up when the roster expands in September, barring any unforeseen injuries to middle infielders that would bring him up sooner.

My take

Even though Kawasaki is a fan favourite and has shown heroics in his brief stint with the club, there just isn’t enough room on the roster for another middle infielder.  Especially one that has minor league options and can be sent to triple-A with zero risk of being lost on a waiver claim.  Kawasaki was signed as a minor league free agent to provide major league depth should a middle infielder go down with an injury.  He has done this and done it well.  However, he will receive nearly no playing time once Reyes returns and the Jays are committed to Izturis (due to his contract) and to Bonifacio (due to his superior natural skill set) and unfortunately, Kawasaki is the odd man out.  Thoughts of sending a reliever down right before 4 games vs. the Red Sox might not be a great idea.  It would be better to get through that series and the next 4 vs. the Tigers before taking the luxury of the additional arm off the roster.  The rotation has been amazing but it won’t last forever.  With the potent offences of the Red Sox and Tigers coming up, keeping the 8-man bullpen doesn’t seem like a bad idea.  Especially when keeping Kawasaki really only buys the Jays time until Lawrie is back.  Send Kawasaki down when Reyes returns and cut the bullpen to the traditional 7 when Lawrie is healthy.  Who should go from the bullpen?  Dustin McGowan, that’s who.  He is owed $1.5 million this year and another $1.5 million next year.  Then they Jays either pick up a $4 million club option for 2015 or buy him out for $500K.  If you didn’t know McGowan and have an emotional attachment to his never-give-up attitude, you would be happy for the Jays to risk putting the hard-throwing righty through waivers – a pitcher who has had 3, count them, 3 shoulder surgeries.  A guy who nobody expects to get anything out of for the rest of his career.  Anything he does is considered a bonus.  He is the least at risk to get picked up off waivers and should be the guy to go.  He would undoubtably accept a minor league assignment since the Jays organization has been so good to him over the years.  With hard-throwing Neil Wagner essentially doing what the Jays might get from McGowan, but only better, there really isn’t a need for his arm in the ‘pen right now.  The relievers with minor league options aren’t going anywhere.  Wagner and Aaron Loup are too valuable.  If it’s between McGowan and Perez, McGowan has to go.  This isn’t personal.  It’s about putting the best team on the field and trying to win every game.

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Lawrie starts rehab process

Blue Jays 3B, Brett Lawrie, has not played since May 27th due to a sprained ankle suffered on a stolen base attempt. Lawrie is out of the walking boot he was wearing and resumed baseball activities earlier this week. While there is still no timetable for his return, Lawrie was able to take some groundballs, batting practice, and do a bit of light running.

Lawrie also spent time on the DL to start the season after straining his oblique during the World Baseball Classic. In 37 games, he hit .209 with 5 homers and 14 RBI. The Jays admitted his slow start was because they rushed him back before he established his timing at the plate during his minor league rehab assignment when he was recovering from the oblique strain. But at the time, they desperately wanted his glove at 3B.

It will be interesting to see both Jose Reyes, who is also on the mend, and Lawrie playing the left side of the infield together and should definitely be an instant upgrade from whatever pairing the Jays throw out there right now. Even though the Jays have played 71 games (or 44% of their season), Lawrie and Reyes have not played together yet this season.

As much as Lawrie is a hot-head and needs to relax and let his skills take over – he’s vastly talented but his head gets in the way – it will be nice to have his bat and glove in the line up when he’s 100% healthy.

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LaRoche Designated

To make room for Chien-Ming Wang, Adam LaRoche was designated for assignment after a very brief stint with the big club.

LaRoche, 29, appeared in just one game for the Jays this season and went 0-for-4. The infielder is a former top prospect who ranked on Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects list each year from 2005-08, placing as high as No. 19. However, in parts of six Major League seasons (1,336 plate appearances), he’s hit just .226 avg., .304 opb, .336 slg with 22 home runs. LaRoche, who has spent time with the Dodgers, Pirates, A’s and Blue Jays, was originally a 39th-round selection by the Dodgers in the 2003 draft.

This move isn’t surprising.  What was surprising is that the Jays called up LaRoche in the first place.  With Brett Lawrie on the DL, it seems to me that Mark DeRosa and Maicer Izturis should be able to handle the 3B load until Lawrie comes back.  Calling up LaRoche was a bit of a head scratcher.

LaRoche is a good triple-A depth guy.  If DeRosa or Izturis goes down prior to Lawrie’s and Jose Reye’s returns, that’s when he should get the call.  Until then, he should be playing in Buffalo.

LaRoche has cleared waivers and will play in triple-A.

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