5/9/2014 7:45 P.M. ET
Blue Jays make 'Dream Come True' for 10-year-old
By Jamie Ross / MLB.com
TORONTO -- Friday was a day to remember for Joey Palmer.
The 10-year-old Edmonton native and his family were on the field for the Blue Jays' batting practice at Rogers Centre prior to the game against the Angels as a part of the Rainbow Society of Alberta's "A Dream Come True" program.
Joey lives with Mitochondrial Disease, an illness that brings him chronic pain and weakness in his legs. Joey also has autism, and only a few weeks ago became the proud owner of an Autism Service Dog, Fritz.
As a gift to Joey and his family, the Rainbow Society and the Blue Jays arranged to have the family flown in for Friday's game. Joey was on the field for BP and had the opportunity to get autographs and pose for pictures with members of the Blue Jays.
But unbeknownst to him, the Blue Jays had another surprise in store: he'll be throwing out the opening pitch for Saturday's afternoon game vs. the Angels.
"It is amazing. The look on his face says it all," said Joey's father, Ron, who made the trip with Joey's mom, Stacy, and sister, Meghan. His grandfather was also on hand. "The Blue Jays have far exceeded our expectations. We are very grateful."
Reyes' speed on display over past two games
TORONTO -- Jose Reyes is starting to look like his old self. On the basepaths, anyway.
The Blue Jays shortstop swiped a pair of bases for the first time since Sept. 2, 2012, in the team's 12-6 win over the Phillies on Thursday, giving him three over the past two games.
It's a sign the 30-year-old is returning to form since recovering from a hamstring injury he sustained on Opening Day in his first at-bat. Reyes missed 17 games in April because of the injury, and he had stolen just one base this season until Wednesday against the Phillies.
"My leg feels good," said Reyes prior to the Blue Jays' game against the Angels on Friday night. "It takes a little time, but running-wise I feel good."
With the leg healed, he's turning his focus toward the batter's box, where he'll look to raise his on-base percentage to career norms. Through 19 games entering Friday, his OBP was .261. Over the course of his 12-year Major League career, that rate is .341.
Still, Reyes believes he's having some quality trips to the plate. He said it's only a matter of time before his batting average and OBP begin to right themselves.
"I feel lately I've been getting good at bats, going deep into counts and seeing a lot of pitches," Reyes said. "I need to get to the point ... that I can be consistent and go from there. It's a long season. And in a long season, there are going to be some struggles. So hopefully my timing comes back as soon as possible."
The Blue Jays have yet to see Reyes at the top of his game for any extended period of time since acquiring him in a 12-player trade with the Marlins in the offseason two years ago.
Reyes sustained a severe left ankle injury in April of last season, and though he returned to the lineup in late June, Reyes admits he never really felt like his old self.
"Last year, I think they got to see me play [like I can] for the first week and a half of the season before I had my injury," Reyes said. "And when I came back, when you're playing, you use your ankle. I wasn't able to do what I was supposed to do, and what I've done in the past."
Lawrie expected back in the lineup this weekend
TORONTO -- Brett Lawrie will likely return to the lineup this weekend, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said prior to Friday's game against the Angels.
Lawrie, the team's everyday third baseman, has been suffering from tightness in his right hamstring and hasn't played since Monday, when he left in the fourth inning against Philadelphia. Gibbons said Lawrie was to run sprints on Friday, and he would not go onto the 15-day disabled list.
"Hopefully [he's back Saturday] or Sunday. He's going to run some more sprints today and see how it goes," said Gibbons.
With Lawrie out of the lineup, third base duties have fallen to Juan Francisco, who's shouldered the responsibility with solid defense and a big bat. It remains to be seen where he fits into the lineup when Lawrie returns, but Gibbons said the team will have to find a way to get the left-handed-hitting Francisco at-bats.
That could include having Lawrie play second base when the Blue Jays face right-handed pitching.
"Right now, we're looking at everything," said Gibbons. "When [Francisco is] hot, we have to look at keeping him in there."
Francisco, who was signed to a Minor League deal by the Blue Jays on April 1, was on an eight-game hitting streak entering Friday, and he went 3-for-3 with a home run and a double in Thursday's 12-6 win over the Phillies.
Francisco is batting .297 (11-for-37) with nine RBIs and three home runs over his last 10 games.
Jamie Ross is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.