06/11/12 6:57 PM ET
Lawrie, offense showing positive signs
By Gregor Chisholm / MLB.com
The Blue Jays entered play on Sunday averaging just three runs per game over their previous four contests. Through the first four innings on Sunday the club was shut out before erupting for 12 runs over the next four frames.
It was an important turnaround which came at the end of a six-game road trip that saw the club go 3-3.
"Considering how the series started, and more importantly how Game 3 started, to see our guys respond as they did [was important]," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "We swung the bat, I thought, exceptionally well from the fifth inning on, a little bit more of an all-field approach that allowed us to bunch a number of hits together.
"It was just good to see them go out, I almost want to say have some fun, but have some production and swing the bat with a little bit more looseness."
One player in particular that saw a jump in production against Atlanta veteran reliever Livan Hernandez was Brett Lawrie. Toronto's third baseman snapped an 0-for-17 skid with a single and two-run homer.
It was Lawrie's first home run of the month, and the second-year player continues to search for the stroke that made him one of the club's most feared hitters during his brief stint in Toronto last season.
"He gave himself a chance to not be as over-aggressive in the box," Farrell said. "I think when he gets over-amped up a little bit, you see him kind of lunge. He'll get some balls deep in the strike zone that he's fouled off. When his timing's been a little bit more consistent, his point of contact is up front. And I think that was the case yesterday, where he just wasn't trying to make things happen too much."
Toronto needs to see more than stats from Lind
TORONTO -- Adam Lind has enjoyed a hot month with the bat for Triple-A Las Vegas, but the overall numbers are going to be just one factor in how quickly he gets back to the Major Leagues.
Lind, who was optioned to the Minors on May 17, was given a list of things that needed to be improved upon before he could return to Toronto, according to manager John Farrell.
The club wanted to see an improvement in Lind's ability to attack left-handed pitching, and a lack of conditioning also appears to have played a large role in his demotion.
"I think there was a need to regain the bat speed that he has shown previous, and I think, at times, showed that it had been less than while he was here," Farrell said. "Whether that was because of overall physical conditioning, we saw some limitations to his range at first base.
"Those were things that were outlined clearly to him, and it wasn't going to be a batting average that got him back here."
Farrell was then asked to clarify whether Lind was out of shape during the first six weeks of the season in Toronto.
"There were some things that took away from his range, and we felt like it reduced the bat speed," the second-year manager responded.
Lind began the season as the Blue Jays' cleanup hitter but never quite found his stride. The native of Indiana hit just .186 with three homers and 11 RBIs in 34 games before being sent to Triple-A.
While with the 51s, Lind appears to have turned things around by posting a .405 average with three home runs and 17 RBIs in 21 games. Those numbers can be deceiving, though, considering they occurred in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.
Lind has battled back problems for the past year, but according to Farrell, that didn't play a role in his overall fitness level this season.
"He had been cleared for all of that because he had been doing his core stabilization religiously," Farrell said. "That was never an issue."
Bautista keeping pace on AL All-Star ballot
TORONTO -- Jose Bautista remained among the league leaders for outfielders when the latest results of fan balloting for this year's All-Star Game in Kansas City were revealed on Monday afternoon.
Bautista is currently ranked fourth for American League outfielders with 1,357,784 votes. He trails Texas' Josh Hamilton (3,833,504), New York's Curtis Granderson (2,033,239) and Texas' Nelson Cruz (1,398,534).
The 31-year-old Bautista would need to finish in the top three in order to guarantee him a spot on this year's AL squad. Bautista entered play on Monday with five homers in his past eight games, and he was hitting .230 with 17 home runs and 44 RBIs on the season.
Last year, Bautista set a Major League Baseball record for most fan votes received by one player. He finished with 7,454,753, surpassing the previous high mark of 6,069,688, set by Seattle's Ken Griffey Jr. in 1994.
Edwin Encarnacion fell out of the top five for AL designated hitters in the latest round of balloting despite a strong first third of the season. Encarnacion entered play on Monday against the Nationals ranked first among DH's in home runs (17) and RBIs (44), while sitting behind Boston's David Ortiz in average (.290) and OPS (.937).
Encarnacion was ranked fifth last week but is not included in the top five after the latest round. Ortiz (1,758,369), Texas' Michael Young (1,396,802) and New York's Raul Ibanez (752,884) account for the top three.
Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or via your mobile device -- using the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot until Thursday, June 28, at 11:59 p.m. ET.
Fans can also once again participate in the State Farm Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Fans will have the opportunity to select three players in each league who they would most like to see participate in the State Farm Home Run Derby. The 2012 State Farm Home Run Derby -- part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day -- will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the United States beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Monday, July 9.
The 2012 American League and National League All-Star teams will be unveiled on Sunday, July 1, on the 2012 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show, televised nationally on TBS. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the 2012 All-Star Game Final Vote on MLB.com.
And the voting doesn't end there. The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
The 2012 All-Star Game will be played at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City on Tuesday, July 10. Come to MLB.com for extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 83rd All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and Sirius XM also will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com or royals.com/asg.
Other Blue Jays that are not listed in the top five at their respective positions but receiving consideration for the All-Star Game include shortstop Yunel Escobar, third baseman Brett Lawrie, center fielder Colby Rasmus and catcher J.P. Arencibia.
Blue Jays ink top pick Davis, 21 others
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays officially came to terms with first-round Draft pick D.J. Davis on Monday afternoon. The 17-year-old outfielder was signed along with 21 other Blue Jays Draftees.
A source told MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo that Davis agreed to a bonus of $1.75 million. The assigned pick value for the No. 17 selection, when Davis was taken, is $2 million.
Davis spent this past season with Stone County High School in Wiggins, Miss., where he made a name for himself with an ability to hit for gap power while also possessing blistering speed on the basepaths.
"I bring speed, solid hitting, and I'm an all-around player," said Davis, who compared his game to that of Atlanta's Michael Bourn.
"I'm basically a line-drive hitter, and I try to keep the balls down on the ground if I can. I've got some pop, I'm kind of sneaky though."
Davis hit .373 (25-for-67) with four doubles, seven homers and 27 RBIs in 26 games for the Tomcats this season. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the recommended slot value was $2 million.
The 5-foot-11, 170-pounder is the son of Wayne Davis, who spent four years in the Blue Jays' Minor League system. The elder Davis hit .223 with 48 home runs and 165 RBIs over that span and had some words of advice for his son about the Toronto organization.
"He has been a big influence on my game," D.J. Davis said. "He's told me everything he knows, and I've kept working with him throughout my career.
"He said that [the Blue Jays are] a good organization to be with. Work hard and they're going to teach you everyting you want to know about the game."
The Blue Jays have now reached an agreement with 11 of their picks taken in the first 10 rounds of the Draft. The only three who remain unsigned are right-hander Marcus Stroman (22nd overall), left-hander Matt Smoral (compensation round) and right-hander Chase DeJong (2nd round).
Smoral indicated to MLB.com last week that he intended to sign with the Blue Jays and was close to an official agreement, while DeJong told MLB.com he was "95 percent" sure he would sign a deal instead of going to play NCAA baseball.
Toronto also reached an agreement with seven non-drafted free-agent pitchers. Right-handers Justin James (Ave Maria University), Justin D'Alessando (University of America), Robert Joseph Brosnahan (University of Michigan), Charles Ghysels (Truett McConnell College), Tim Nicolas Brechbuehler (Louisburg Community College), and left-handers Kyle Anderson (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo) and Joseph Spano (University of Notre Dame) all signed.