Jays switching up their batting
By Bob Elliott, QMI Agency
|Toronto Blue Jays' Eric Thames smiles after striking out against the Tampa Bay Rays. (REUTERS/Mark Blinch)
Eric Thames, recalled from triple-A Las Vegas, was in the starting lineup in left field and hitting in the No. 2 hole Friday night.
“He gives us a third left-handed bat,” manager John Farrell told reporters before the game.
The Jays also have Adam Lind and Cory Patterson, who hit from the left side. While Lind was at first Friday, Patterson, hitting .095 (2-for-21) this trip, was on the bench.
“Likely you’ll see Patterson in the No. 2 hole most nights,” Farrell said.
Thames has hit .375 for Las Vegas this month, with eight doubles, two triples, one homer and 15 RBIs in 17 games. He’ll see time in left, right and at DH. Thames was with the Jays in May when Lind injured his back. He’s sporting a new beard.
Pat knows: Former Jays righty Chris Carpenter spent the Toronto batting practice standing in left field talking to Jays bullpen coach Pat Hentgen.
“There’s not many people left in the game today who enjoy talking baseball as much as Pat does,” Carpenter said. “I learned about pitching from him, I hope those young guys over there know how much he meant to that organization, and what he means to baseball.”
Brett’s time: Asked about a timeline on injured third baseman Brett Lawrie, Farrell said “every time we put a timeline on his injury, it changes.”
“Brett doesn’t have any trouble fielding the ball, that doesn’t give him pain,” Farrell said. “He is still having trouble gripping a bat.”
So, Lawrie is looking at A) getting healthy since he was plunked on his left hand with a pitch, B) taking batting practice and C) going out on a rehab assignment to get back where he was tearing up the Pacific Coast League.
“We’re thinking August, it might be July, but it won’t be before the all-star game,” Farrell said.
Lawrie is in Dunedin working out at the Bobby Mattick Training Complex.
Cancel the showdown: St. Louis fans were looking forward to a matchup of sluggers between Albert Pujols and Jose Bautista.
First baseman Pujols broke his hand reaching into foul ground for the throw, as Kansas City Royals' Wilson Betemit arrived. He’ll be out 4-to-6 weeks.
“I have tremendous respect for every major leaguer, that includes Albert,” Bautista said. “I don’t think we’re the same type of hitter though.”
Farrell said it was unfortunate Pujols was not in the lineup.
“We all like to see the star players perform,” Farrell said. “We’ve had our injuries to deal with as well ... it’s part of the game.”