TORONTO -- Top prospect Brett Lawrie has continued to improve his plate discipline at Triple-A Las Vegas through the second month of the season, and he could be manning third base for the Blue Jays sooner rather than later.
Manager John Farrell caught reporters off guard during his pregame media session on Friday, throwing out Lawrie's name as a candidate to play third base for him in the near future.
"[Jayson] Nix, [John McDonald], Edwin [Encarnacion] -- we've got three options there. And then, when Brett Lawrie comes, there's another one," Farrell said when asked about his options at the position.
Farrell wouldn't offer a timeframe of when Lawrie could expect to be called up to the big leagues -- "In due time," was all he said -- but general manager Alex Anthopoulos indicated that Lawrie is giving the team little option but to bring him up.
"If he keeps doing what he's doing, he's going to certainly force our hand. I'm not afraid to say that," Anthopoulos said.
After going 1-for-4 with an RBI and a walk on Thursday night, Lawrie is hitting .335 with nine home runs, 32 RBIs and nine stolen bases.
The 21-year-old has shown impressive power, with 26 of his 58 hits going for extra bases, and he has improved his plate discipline, drawing nine walks in his last 10 games after walking just five times in his first 30.
The Blue Jays specifically asked Lawrie -- who is just two years removed from playing high school baseball in British Columbia -- to be more patient at the plate, and they have been impressed with the results.
"I'm very pleased with how he's responded to us asking him to be a little more selective in his at-bats," Anthopoulos said. "We're not asking him to go up there and walk. But we're asking him to be a little bit more selective and have a little bit more of a plan."
Lawrie was taking three pitches or fewer in most of his early at-bats but has been more patient of late, drawing upwards of five or six pitches.
"When I look at our game reports, the first thing I look at is the number of pitches seen per plate appearance," Anthopoulos said. "I get excited when I read a game report -- even if he lines out or pops up -- and they say he laid off sliders down and away or had a good at-bat."
Wallace finally takes the field at Rogers Centre
TORONTO -- Brett Wallace had always envisioned himself playing first base at Rogers Centre, but when that moment finally arrived on Friday night, he was wearing a different uniform than originally expected.
Wallace arrived with his Astros teammates for the start of Interleague Play against the Blue Jays on Friday. Toronto's former top prospect finally has some stability in his professional career after spending time with four organizations in just three years.
"It teaches you that it's a business pretty quick," Wallace said. "When I first signed, I wasn't 100 percent aware of how much of a business side there was to this game.
"But I think in one sense it helped me. It just ... helped me understand that I can't control everything, and if I go out there and work hard, that's all I can control."
Wallace has done a pretty good job of that so far for the Astros, hitting .303 with three home runs and 13 RBIs in 142 at-bats.
The 24-year-old didn't start against left-hander Jo-Jo Reyes on Friday but did enter the game as a defensive replacement in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Though he wasn't in the lineup for the series opener, he has found an everyday role with the Astros.
- 131 wins
- 121 wins
"I think [it's] just finding some stability," Wallace said of his success. "I've been traded a few times, and actually having the chance to finish out the season with a team and then come back to Spring Training with the same one [helps].
"I've been able to just have fun, know the guys and be calm, because I don't have to make new friends, make new teammates, I can just go back into the same situation and kind of relax."
Wallace was selected by the Cardinals with the 13th overall pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft. He was traded to the Athletics in a deal for All-Star Matt Holliday in 2009 and later traded to the Blue Jays for top prospect Michael Taylor.
It was in Toronto that Wallace thought he had found a permanent home. The starting first baseman at the time, Lyle Overbay, was an impending free agent, and there appeared to be an opportunity for Wallace to become his replacement.
All of that changed just prior to the 2010 non-waiver Trade Deadline, when general manager Alex Anthopoulos pulled off a surprise trade with Houston for speedster Anthony Gose.
The trade caught Wallace off guard, but he says that with all the turmoil he already has endured during his brief career, he was able to handle it the right way.
"Honestly, what I had been told is that I was going to be a part of the future, so it was definitely surprising," he said. "But in the same sense, all the other trades made me realize it was a business, so when the trade did go through, it wasn't a total shock, it was more just business as usual for me.
"I tried to focus on the future, move on, come over to Houston and try to be the answer over here."
Nix seeing plenty of action at third base
TORONTO -- Jayson Nix was back in the lineup and starting at third base on Friday for the third consecutive night.
Nix has received the bulk of the playing time at third base since being activated from the 15-day disabled list, but manager John Farrell has stopped short of declaring him the everyday starter.
"The thought when he came back was to give him a few games in a row just to give himself a chance to get some timing, get some rhythm back," Farrell said of Nix, who missed 21 games with a contusion in his left leg.
"We wanted to give Jayson a run of games where he is going to feel like he can get into the flow of things, because he has the ability to impact the game both on both defense and in the box."
John McDonald is expected to start at third base on Saturday afternoon to give Nix a day off following a night game.
Farrell also didn't rule out using Edwin Encarnacion at the position, even though the veteran has committed seven errors in just 17 games at third.
Arnsberg enjoys homecoming in Toronto
TORONTO -- Brad Arnsberg was in Toronto on Friday night for the first time since leaving the organization to take a job as the Astros' pitching coach.
Arnsberg left for Houston following the 2009 season after spending five seasons with the Blue Jays, and he has good memories of his time in the city.
"It was tough leaving," Arnsberg said. "I had so many fond memories of Toronto. I've kind of turned the page on that, but it's fun to come back."
A number of players on the Blue Jays' roster remain from Arnsberg's time with the team. He worked with starters Ricky Romero and Jesse Litsch, and relievers Shawn Camp, Jason Frasor, Marc Rzepczynski and Casey Janssen.
"I'm real happy for a lot of these guys' success," Arnsberg said. "I know through the players that they really enjoy the new manager and the upbeat vibe that the team brings to the field every day."
The person Arnsberg is most excited for, though, is current pitching coach Bruce "Papi" Walton. The two spent time together on Toronto's coaching staff, and when Arnsberg left town, he was pulling for Walton to get his job.
"I was so excited when they decided that he was going to be their guy," Arnsberg said. "I had tried to go to bat for that, because I thought the transition of losing a guy that had been here for five years was probably easiest done in that fashion.
"I'm glad that Alex made the decision that Papi was their guy. He has done nothing but a great job."
Left fielder Corey Patterson recorded the 1,000th hit of his career with a single to left field on Friday night. The single also extended his hitting streak to 11 games; the veteran is batting .313 over that span.
First baseman Adam Lind is set to resume baseball activities on Saturday. The 27-year-old is on the 15-day disabled list with tightness in his lower back and hasn't played since May 7, against the Tigers.
"He's feeling better," manager John Farrell said. "He will initiate baseball activity, and depending on how he progresses through those, the next step [will be] when he gets in to face live pitching, which could be this weekend."
The Blue Jays entered Friday night's game with a 7-3 record since being no-hit by Detroit's Justin Verlander. The club has posted the highest on-base percentage (.353) and slugging percentage (.466) in the American League over that span.
Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. Arden Zwelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.