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03/25/12 7:18 PM ET

Lawrie eased into action against Red Sox

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Brett Lawrie made his return to the Blue Jays' lineup on Sunday afternoon against the Red Sox.

Lawrie had been out since March 16 with tightness in his left groin. Toronto's third baseman received medical clearance earlier in the week, but the club decided to take a cautious approach and keep him out of the lineup until Sunday.

The 22-year-old Lawrie went 0-for-2 in two at-bats, before being lifted -- as expected. Chris Woodward came on to play third base for Lawrie, who should have plenty of time to get back to full strength before the start of the regular season.

"Lawrie was fine," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "We got five innings of defense under him. He was upset at himself not driving in a run [in the fourth inning], but he has to keep things in perspective. He's had a seven-day break here. Everyone will have the day off tomorrow, and he'll be back in there Tuesday night."

Lawrie entered play on Sunday with the team lead in doubles (six) and stolen bases (five). His 14 hits are tied for second, despite receiving just 25 at-bats in nine games.

The native of Langley, British Columbia, made his Major League debut in 2011 and hit .293 with nine home runs and 25 RBIs while posting a .953 OPS in 43 games.

X-rays negative after Bautista hit on hand

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Jose Bautista was hit on the right hand by a pitch from Daniel Bard on Sunday afternoon, but he avoided a serious injury.

Toronto's slugger went for X-rays, which came back negative.

Bautista was struck on the hand as he attempted to duck out of the way from an inside pitch during the sixth inning against Boston.

"I think we were fortunate to avoid something there," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "He took the glancing pitch off his thumb and index finger on a pitch that just got away from Bard. Fortunately the X-rays were negative -- there's a little bit of swelling, but he should be fine."

Bautista is hitting .306 with three home runs and nine RBIs in 13 games this spring.

Santos returns after working on changeup

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Sergio Santos is back in the Blue Jays' regular pitching schedule following a lengthy absence to work on his changeup.

Santos pitched one scoreless inning Saturday afternoon against the Braves. It was his first action in a Grapefruit League game since March 7.

Toronto's closer has been physically fine all spring, but the club wanted him to work exclusively in bullpen sessions and Minor League games for a period of time to prepare for the start of the regular season.

"Bullpen sessions and everything for me are a little more intense than most guys, just because I'm zero to 100 -- there's no really in-between for me," Santos said. "The way they saw the ball coming out was going well; they kind of just wanted to slow me down a little bit and really focus on the changeup part of it. I was all for it."

Santos utilized a changeup while with the White Sox last season, but he mostly relied on his fastball-slider combination. The changeup is a pitch he would like to use on a more frequent basis this year, and it needed some extra work.

There were no major changes to the grip, but one slight modification included an adjustment in his handset during the set position that enables Santos to get the ball out of his glove a bit quicker.

Toronto's decision to take a slow approach with Santos didn't come as a surprise to the 28-year-old, and it was something he had put some thought into as well.

"I had been thinking about it that I wanted to work on changeups," said Santos, who is expected to get into five more games during the spring slate. "Going to the Minor League games, I can throw 30 changeups if I wanted to. When I come in and if I give up a 10-spot, people are like, 'What's wrong with you?' and I can just say, 'Look, I was just working on a certain pitch.' It allows me to focus on that one pitch and not have any other distractions."

Blue Jays 'optimistic' about Francisco timetable

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Ben Francisco is expected to be out for the next five to seven days with a strained left hamstring.

Francisco suffered the injury while running out a ground ball during Friday night's game against Tampa Bay. The strain isn't as severe as initially feared, and Francisco has already resumed swinging a bat.

The six-year veteran is expected to open the year as a reserve outfielder, and he should be ready in time for Opening Day.

"Right now, we're very optimistic about that," Blue Jays manager John Farrell told reporters on Sunday morning.

"This is on the shorter range of the time that could be missed here. We still think it's going to be that five-to-seven-day period, but he has responded very well to treatment, all day treatment yesterday."

Francisco was acquired in an offseason trade with Philadelphia. Last year with the Phillies, he hit .244 with six home runs and 34 RBIs in 100 games.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.