Brett Lawrie was supposed to see a few more rehab games before rejoining the Toronto Blue Jays. Ultimately, the team decided it didn’t want to wait that long.
— Blue Jays-Official (@BlueJays) August 4, 2014
The Blue Jays will activate Lawrie prior to Tuesday’s series opener against the Baltimore Orioles. The third baseman, who has been out since June 22nd with a fractured index finger, played in just three games with Single-A Dunedin before being activated, going 4-10 with a double while seeing time at both second and third base.
The quickness of his activation is a bit of a surprise, as it is a departure from what the Blue Jays had been preaching for the past few weeks, where the plan was for Lawrie to likely join the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Double-A) before rejoining the big club. In fact, John Gibbons had said as late as August 1st that the team was going to be cautious with rushing Lawrie too quickly, citing past incidents when the team didn’t take its time with the young third baseman.
“Last year, we brought him back a couple of times without a lot of playing time down there and he suffered for it. We brought him back out of desperation, so he needs to get his timing back. I have to believe it’s at least a week.” – (H/T Gregor Chisholm, MLB.com)
Well, a 3-game losing streak brought on by the Houston Astros likely exposed the Blue Jays more than they wanted to, and desperation won out again. Lawrie was hitting .244/.299/.419 with 12 home runs and 38 RBI before his injury.
It’ll be interesting to see what the corresponding move will be, as the Blue Jays will need to make one prior to officially activating Lawrie and adding him to the active roster. Ryan Goins seems like the obvious choice, as he has options available. However, Goins has also been swinging a hot bat over the last several games, and he is a defensive upgrade. Munenori Kawasaki could also be another option.
One player that will truly test Toronto’s decision making process will be Juan Francisco. The big slugger has provided some offensive punch to the line-up, notching 16 home runs and 42 RBI since being recalled from Buffalo. He’s also coming off a solid July, where he slashed .258/.319/.532 with 4 homers and 12 RBI. However, his .114/.200/.200 split against left-handed pitching puts his role into doubt, especially after Adam Lind rejoins the team later this month.
Steve Tolleson, who has been waiting for his wife to deliver a child for what seems like a decade, was placed on the paternity list in order t clear roster space for Brett Lawrie. That said, it buys the Blue Jays three days before they have to make another roster decision and activate Tolleson.