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MacArthur: Gibbons confirms Lawrie will play some 2B

Scott MacArthur
5/10/2014 3:55:17 PM
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TORONTO – Shortly after 11 o'clock on Saturday morning, Brett Lawrie wandered into manager John Gibbons' office for a brief conversation.

There were two topics: the status of Lawrie's injured right hamstring and where he would play when he returns to the lineup.

Gibbons confirmed Lawrie will sometimes play second base.

"He's got no problem with it," said Gibbons. "He basically said, hey, whatever the boys need. I mean, he's here to win. That's the name of the game and like I said, I think it makes us better."

Lawrie was less enthused but reiterated what he has said before and what Gibbons offered on Saturday morning.

"Just doing it for the team," said Lawrie.

The differences between second base and third base are many. The footwork is different. The timing is different – third base is called the "hot corner" for a reason.

Lawrie has history at second base, having played the position in Milwaukee's minor league system. Part of his hesitation for making the switch is grounded in the pride he takes in how hard he's worked to become a gold glove calibre third baseman, doing so almost entirely at the major league level.

"I worked my butt off to get where I'm at," Lawrie told TSN.ca on Friday. "I'm not saying it's not going to help the team. I'm here to do what it is to help the team but I worked my butt off to be that good at third base and continue to do what I'm doing. I work every day over there. Still continuing to get my work in and second base, it is what it is, man, it's not what I'm here to do. I worked my butt off to do what I do out there."

Lawrie has appeared in four games at second base this season. He started at second six times last year. His limited time there doesn't make him feel more comfortable.

"Not necessarily," said Lawrie. "You got to have comfort to do it a bunch of times in a row and I've only done it for a couple of games but you need a few games under your belt to make it comfortable."

Out of action since leaving in the fourth inning of Monday night's game in Philadelphia, Lawrie is nearing a return. It's been a daily process, as each day Lawrie has been intensifying the demands on his hamstring.

"He came out and ran and felt pretty good today," said Gibbons. "What we're going to do is we're going to make him do it one more day and if all is well he'll be ready to go on Monday. So I would expect to see him on Monday."

If Lawrie plays on Monday night in the series finale against the Angels, expect to see him at third. Los Angeles is scheduled to start left-hander C.J. Wilson. Juan Francisco is a left-handed batter. The realignment is aimed at keeping Francisco in the lineup against right-handers, against whom he has greater success.

"We've been watching him ever since he got here," said Gibbons. "He's a pretty good player. He's off to a great start. I don't think we'd be doing our job if we just decided to sit him and not take advantage of what he's doing."

Put together Reyes, Cabrera, Bautista, Encarnacion, Lind, Navarro, Francisco, Lawrie and Rasmus and it's a potent, long lineup one through nine. If someone is struggling, the next guy can pick him up.

If the Blue Jays can keep everyone healthy for a period of time, it would give Gibbons a bona fide American League East lineup.

"A good whatever division lineup," said Gibbons.

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