What will Jays' next move be?
By KEN FIDLIN, QMI Agency
ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. - Brett Lawrie’s arrival in the big leagues with the Blue Jays once again is imminent after a two-month interruption due to a fractured wrist. There is no set date, but it’s going to happen very soon.
“We haven’t changed from our goal of getting him at-bats and games played at the big-league level prior to September,” manager John Farrell said Tuesday.
When Lawrie arrives, someone will have to go.
“When he comes, he’s coming to play third base,” Farrell said. “That hasn’t changed. And when he comes, Jose (Bautista) is going back to play right field. Now that creates a little bit of a flood in the outfield. So when that decision is made to bring him, we’ve got to make a countermove to free that spot.
“The most important thing is that we’re getting to a point with our roster that performance — what you do between the lines — directly impacts that decision.”
Outfielders Eric Thames and Travis Snider, as well as DH Edwin Encarnacion, could be central to that decision.
While the Jays will be looking at some of their future rotation candidates such as Henderson Alvarez before the end of the season, Farrell wants to get a long look at Jesse Litsch out of the bullpen.
“Right now we want to take a good long look at him in the role he’s in currently, to take advantage of his weapons against right-handed hitters that he’s been very successful at,” Farrell said. “This two months will give us a much more clear picture on where he’s best suited.”
'Ebbs and flows'
The 14-game home run drought Bautista ended with a solo shot Tuesday night is of little concern to Farrell and the Toronto front office.
“It’s an example of the typical ebbs and flows that all players — and even very good players — go through,” Farrell said. “There is no sense of panic on our part because he’s driven in some key runs for us, while dealing with a sprained ankle and the after-effects of a beanball.”