06/20/12 7:03 PM ET
Blue Jays balancing bullpen, claim Pauley
By Jeremy Warnemuende / MLB.com
Lawrie exits early with minor knee soreness
MILWAUKEE -- Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie left Wednesday's game against the Brewers at Miller Park with right knee soreness.Lawrie aggravated the knee when sliding into third base in the seventh inning. When his next at-bat came in the top of the eighth, Yunel Escobar pinch-hit in his place. On the slide, Lawrie said the knee "tensed up." Usually a right-footed slider, he had been leading with his left foot instead recently because of an abrasion on the back of his left leg. The former Brewers prospect hit two home runs in his first Major League series at Miller Park, but was 0-for-3 before exiting Wednesday's game. He said there's nothing seriously wrong with his knee, but he felt it was best to treat it as soon as possible. "It's not enough to make me not play, but at the same time, I just thought it was time to throw some ice on it," he said. "And tomorrow we've got an off-day, which is good. We can obviously treat it tomorrow and ice it all day and then be back in there the next day."
Lawrie, Rasmus prove potent tablesetters
MILWAUKEE -- On June 5 against the White Sox, Blue Jays manager John Farrell shuffled his lineup, inserting third baseman Brett Lawrie and center fielder Colby Rasmus into the top of the order.The change has paid major dividends, as the two have taken off since the switch, combining for nine home runs and 22 RBIs in 14 games entering Wednesday's rubber match against the Brewers at Miller Park. And with his team working through the injuries of three starting pitchers, Farrell has appreciated what his top two hitters have done. "It's been very encouraging to see what Brett and Colby have done since they've gone to the top of the order," Farrell said. "And whether or not it's because of the position they're in, but the fact is, they're not only getting on base, but they've been doing some damage with extra-base hits in front of [Jose Bautista] and [Edwin Encarnacion], who have been very solid for really the last six weeks for us, both of those guys." Since June 5, Lawrie is batting .322 (19-for-59) with a .394 on base percentage. Behind him, Rasmus has a .355 (22-for-62) average with a 1.015 OPS in the same span. Rasmus, who hit two home runs in Toronto's 10-9 win on Tuesday, said after the game that he's embraced the move to the two-hole. "I have a good time hitting up there and hitting behind Brett," he said. "He's on base a lot, and he's got a lot of energy and it's easy to feed off that." After batting just .173 in 35 games with the Blue Jays last season, Rasmus' average is up to .259 this season, including .381 in the last five games. Toronto has gone 4-1 over that span, and Rasmus has chipped in three home runs and six RBIs. Farrell said Rasmus' offensive breakout has come along with keeping things simple at the plate and becoming more comfortable with being himself in the clubhouse and the dugout. "Most importantly, he feels like he belongs here," Farrell said. "And he's playing like it."
During Tuesday night's game between the Blue Jays and Brewers, right fielder Bautista said a fan at Miller Park began heckling Lawrie, who is a former Milwaukee prospect and first-round Draft pick. Bautista, who stepped in, said the exchange was "exclusively, 100 percent on the fan, not Brett.""Brett did nothing to instigate this person," Bautista said. "It was just a fan trying to heckle him, but at the same time being vulgar. I think that's uncalled for, and I just tried to be the mediator. Nothing happened. It got controlled, didn't escalate and that's it." Blue Jays infielder Travis Snider continues to rehab from a jammed right wrist with Triple-A Las Vegas. Farrell said Snider, who went 1-for-3 with a three-run homer on Tuesday, is healthy. However, sending infielder Yan Gomes down to make room for Carreno is not related to Snider's future. "Right now, our moves are geared solely on pitching, and we'll adjust accordingly with the position players right now," Farrell said.
Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.