03/18/12 6:00 PM ET
Top prospect d'Arnaud among roster cuts
By Gregor Chisholm / MLB.com
Right-hander Deck McGuire, right-hander Jerry Gil and catcher A.J. Jimenez were returned to Minor League Spring Training while first baseman Mike McDade and Travis d'Arnaud were optioned to that side as well.
The moves do not come as a surprise with just over two weeks remaining until Opening Day. Toronto now has three catchers, 11 infielders, seven outfielders and 20 pitches remaining in camp.
The most notable departure on Sunday was d'Arnaud, who is the club's No. 1 ranked prospect according to MLB.com. The 22-year-old d'Arnaud is slated to begin the year with Triple-A Las Vegas after an MVP season in the Eastern League where he hit .311 with 21 homers and 78 RBIs for Double-A New Hampshire.
Lawrie being cautious with groin issue
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Brett Lawrie was held out of action for the second consecutive day on Sunday afternoon because of tightness in his left groin.
Toronto's third baseman suffered the injury while attempting to score from second base during Friday's victory over the Rays. Lawrie received treatment on Sunday, but once again did not participate in any on-field activity.
Lawrie said the injury is not serious, but it's better to be cautious with more than two weeks remaining until the start of the regular season.
"Good, getting better every day," Lawrie said when asked to update his status. "Today feels a lot better just from mobility-wise, moving it around and stuff. Every day is a new day and just getting better."
Lawrie is still considered day to day, but has already been ruled out for Tuesday's game against the Red Sox, which follows an off-day on Monday. He will continue receiving treatment and there is no immediate timetable for his return.
"It's just personal preference based on feel," Lawrie said. "These sort of things are just hard to put a timetable on and say you can play this day. So, it' s just on how it feels.
"I've had this before and especially today it feels better. I'm walking around fine without any pain, so it's just day-by-day progression and how I feel."
Lawrie is set to embark on his first full season in the Major Leagues after an impressive debut in 2011. The native of Langley, British Columbia, hit .293 with nine home runs and 25 RBIs while posting a .953 OPS in just 150 at-bats.
This spring, Lawrie entered play Saturday with the American League lead in hits (14), doubles (six) and stolen bases (five). He also leads the Blue Jays with a .609 average (14-for-23) with a .625 on-base percentage and a .957 slugging percentage.
MLBPA says Bautista isn't being targeted
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The executive director of the Major League Baseball Players' Association doesn't believe that Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista has been unfairly targeted by the league's random drug testing policy.
Michael Weiner was in Dunedin on Sunday for his annual visit to the Blue Jays' clubhouse and a closed-door meeting to address various union issues. It's a trip he makes to each Major League team during the spring in preparation for the start of the season.
Bautista said during the offseason that he had been tested approximately 16 times during the past three years. That high number caught the attention of many critics who felt the right fielder may have become a target because of his recent success.
"It came up [in conversation] in the sense that sometimes there are players, the way our program works, not all players are tested the same number of times," Weiner said of his discussions with players this spring. "Some players will say, well how come I got tested 'x' number of times when other guys only got tested three times.
"The way our program works, and this is important for deterrence, is that no player can be confident that he won't be tested again because of the way we do the random selections. So the subject has come up, not necessarily in connection with Jose's comments."
Bautista wasn't complaining about the high number of tests when he brought the issue up at a charity event in the offseason. Toronto's outfielder wasn't aware there was media in attendance and was simply answering a question posed by former Major Leaguer Pedro Martinez.
The news leaked out, though, and there was an investigation by the MLBPA into the allegation but everything checked out fine. Under the rules of the collective bargaining agreement, the independent program administrator is not allowed to pick which players are tested more.
There is a system in place where the program can test more frequently if there is reasonable cause. An example of that would be if a package was intercepted en route to a clubhouse that contained substances of abuse. But having a player go from 16 home runs in one season to 54 in the next is not one of those scenarios.
"Absolutely not reasonable cause," Weiner said. "Reasonable cause is evidence that would stand up in a legal proceeding that would be a basis for saying this person should be distinguished [and not] performance on the field, hearsay, that kind of stuff.
"Jose's accomplishments are so phenomenal it's unfortunate that there continue to be some people who raise questions about it. I've known Jose since the beginning of his career and he's the same guy that he was. Hard working, intelligent, deep thinking, highly competitive guy. His success is because of who he is."
Thames displays good game awareness
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Eric Thames displayed a surprising new aspect to his game on Saturday afternoon against Philadelphia when he bunted down the third-base line for a base hit.
It's not something the Blue Jays expect to see much from Thames this season, but manager John Farrell felt it showed the left fielder's increasing awareness inside of a game situation.
"There's two ways to look at it," Farrell said. "One, I thought it was a heads up awareness on his part to see where the third baseman was playing ... but in a two-out, nobody-on situation with his ability to drive the baseball, we'd like to see him do that.
"If he's in a spot in the lineup, if you go back to last year with [Jose] Bautista behind him, anybody getting on base ahead of Bautista is a plus. So if that situation comes up during the season and it brings Bautista to the plate with a man on, I'm fine with that. But if he's down in the order, depending on who's behind him, depending on the score, time of the game, two outs, I would like to see him drive the ball into the gap for extra bases or right out of the ballpark."
Thames entered play on Sunday hitting .345 with one home run and six RBIs in 10 games this spring.