Will Blue Jays Rush Brett Lawrie Due To Jose Reyes Injury?


February 24, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie (13) hits a double in the fourth inning against the New York Yankees during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY SportsIt is official, the Toronto Blue Jays will be without All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes for 3 months after the team’s lead-off hitter severely sprained his left ankle while stealing second base Friday night. The Blue Jays officially announced placing Reyes on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday.

For the short-term, the team has promoted Munenori Kawasaki from Triple-A Buffalo to take the place of Reyes on the 25-man roster and started right-fielder Jose Bautista at third base Saturday. Emilio Bonifacio got the start in right field and took over for Reyes in the lead-off role.

However, the Blue Jays are likely less than thrilled with the idea of using Bautista at third base. He has played 385 career games at the hot corner during his career, but ultimately Toronto prefers him in right field.

That’s where Brett Lawrie comes in.

The injured Blue Jays third baseman started appearing in extended Spring Training games on Thursday and was to see his first rehab assignment game on Saturday in Dunedin.That appearance was cancelled and some thought that Lawrie was possibly heading north ahead of schedule. However, that theory proved to change, as the Dunedin Blue Jays just announced that Lawrie was pushed back to today’s game.

Curiously, Lawrie will be playing second base, but that’s another question altogether.

Still, Dakers’ post does bring up a solid point. In the team’s current infield situation, one has to wonder if the Blue Jays will exercise the same restraint with Lawrie that they have to this point. With the trio of Emilio Bonifacio, Maicer Izturis, and Mark DeRosa rotating in and out of the line-up, and now the additions of Kawasaki and the worry of playing Jose Bautista daily at third base, it would be easily fathomable for Toronto to hurry Lawrie along.

However, in the end, it does not help anyone to bring Lawrie back up until he gets his timing down. Yes, his defense will save runs while his bat comes up to speed, but knowing Lawrie’s all-or-nothing drive, the pressure of trying to do too much at the plate could represent a set-back for him long-term.

Toronto is better off letting his rehab run its 10-day course and getting Lawrie back into the fold as planned. The current conglomeration can likely hold its own, or at least resemble a replacement level player, until he returns healthy.

Maybe I’m wrong, but do the Blue Jays really save that much by rushing him by a couple of extra days?