Lawrie is Mr. Intensity

Brett Lawrie is having an explosive start to his MLB career with the Blue Jays. (QMI Agency/Ernest...

Brett Lawrie is having an explosive start to his MLB career with the Blue Jays. (QMI Agency/Ernest Doroszuk)

BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:06 PM ET

TORONTO - Blue Jays manager John Farrell has seen Brett Lawrie play 15 regular-season games.

Mike Guerrero managed Lawrie for 135 games at double-A Huntsville in 2010.

Guerrero, son of former Blue Jays scout Epy Guerrero, who brought Tony Fernández, Carlos Delgado, Kelvim Escobar, Junior Félix and Nelson Liriano and others to Toronto, had three other Canadians on his Huntsville roster: Infielder Taylor Green of Comox, B.C., Calgary reliever James Henderson and right-hander Alexandre Periard of St. Eustache, Que.

"He's the most intense Canadian I've had, maybe one of the most intense players I've ever had," said Guerrero, from Pearl, Miss., of Lawrie.

Guerrero in his 17th season in the Milwaukee Brewers organization, this is his eighth year managing.

"Prince Fielder played for me, Rickie Weeks, Jonathan Lucroy and a few more on their way to the majors. Some show more emotion. Everyone is intense, every one shows emotions differently."

Also learning from Guerrero were Yovani Gallardo, Matt LaPorta, Michael Brantley and John Axford of Port Dover, Ont., now with the Brewers.

A year ago, Lawrie, of Langley, B.C., batted leadoff, in the No. 2 spot or third in the batting order.

"People in Huntsville would rather see him hit a ball in the gap than a homer, Brett could go first to third quicker than anyone in this league," Guerrero said.

Lawrie hit 18 triples and eight homers, batting .275 at Huntsville. He enters Saturday night's game in Oakland with a .378 average.

How is it possible to hit .275 in the double-A Southern League and roughly .100 points higher in the majors?

We'll have the answer in a month or so.

It's still early in Lawrie's major-league time. He's entering his third week.

Can the game suddenly be as easy as the 21-year-old is making it look?

Well, Jays broadcaster Buck Martinez used to room with a rookie third baseman with the Kansas CIty Royals. Martinez says Lawrie is more athletic than his old roomie, who grew up to be George Brett, a Hall of Famer.

"We tried to help Brett last year. Every kid has a different demeanor," Guerrero said. "One thing I have to tip my hat to him is that I never had to tell him to play hard. He plays every game hard, goes all out."

It didn't matter if the score was 1-0 or 10-1.

"He can do so many things, the most impressive thing is his athletic ability. It comes so easy for him," Guerrero said. "Whether it's going side-to-side on a grounder, jumping on a line drive, running the bases, he got to the plays or could catch up to a pitch. His athletic ability is off the charts.

"We saw flashes of the tools he has, saw what he brought to the table."

Guerrero said he saw highlights on ESPN when Lawrie hit his grand slam against Oakland, then celebrated by fist pumping, slamming fists from one end of the dugout to the other and finally taking a curtain call.

"He could get pretty excited with us," Guerrero said. "I'm sure having success at the big league level is worth getting excited about. You have to be a special kid to go in the first round. Defensively he has what it takes."

Lawrie was selected 16th overall in North America in the 2008 draft by the Brewers, played for Canada in the Bejing Olympics and for the Canadian team in Edmonton at the world juniors.

This is his third year of pro ball. He spent 2009 at class-A Wisconsin, last year at Huntsville, this year at triple-A Vegas and the Jays on his ear-popping ride.

The Jays moved last year's opening day starter, Shaun Marcum, for Lawrie at the winter meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Marcum is 10-3, with a 3.50 ERA for the first-place Brewers.

"The Brewers got what they wanted in Marcum," Guerrero said. "The Jays got what they wanted. They had to wait for a little more seasoning, but both teams filled their needs.

"There's no doubting the talent Brett Lawrie has. He can do on the field whatever he's determines to do. He's going to be successful for a long time."

NEXT UP, HGH TESTING

First baseman Mike Jacobs' final at-bat as a major leaguer was April 17, 2010, when he singled in the top of the 20th inning to help the New York Mets beat the St. Louis Cardinals 2-1.

Jacobs has never been mentioned in the same breath as Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire or Roger Clemens.

No, now Jacobs has a sentence all to his own after he became the first North American pro athlete suspended for testing positive for use of HGH.

Playing for the Colorado Rockies' triple-A affiliate in Colorado Springs, he was suspended for 50 games and then released by the Rockies.

Currently, only minor-leaguers are tested for HGH, which is not part of the current major league drug agreement.

No doubt, finally having a way to test for HGH, it will move to the front burner during the current labour talks.

TEAMMATES PITCH IN

Jack Hannahan was the Cleveland Indians' opening day third baseman, flashing leather but unable to hit.

He eventually lost his job as a starter, but didn't lose any friends on the team.

On Aug. 4, the Indians were in Boston packing at Fenway Park for their charter to Texas, when Hannahan found out his wife, Jenny, had gone into labour with the couple's first child. There were not any more flights from Boston to Cleveland that night, so Hannahan was prepared to take a flight the next day.

His teammates found out, kicked in enough to pay for a charter to fly Hannahan to Cleveland that night. The cost of the jet was $20,000 US, less than the originally reported $45,000.

Hannahan landed in Cleveland, rushed to a waiting car and headed to the hospital, arriving 15 minutes before his son, John Joseph Hannahan V was born by emergency Cesarean. The baby was born two-months premature, at two pounds, 12 ounces.

PEOPLE WERE LISTENING, TED

Ted Tevan began dominating air waves in 1972.

Working mostly in Montreal as a talk-show host, the proud Kingstonian passed away last weekend at age 78.

Gruff and blunt on the air, he was a pussycat in person.

We remember being with him as he did his show from the nearly deserted lobby of the Diplomat Hotel at the winter meetings in Hollywood, Fla., one night in 1981.

A caller asked where Chris Speier had been traded to?

"You are calling me, me, a man WHO IS WHERE THE ACTION IS, asking if Speier has been traded? I'll tell you when he's traded," Tevan yelled in indignation.

Tevan would machine-gun his callers, plug Chenoy's and always entertain.

Last time we were on with Ted, he said he'd signed off recently, asking: "Who's out there, who's listening?"

The next day, his home phone rang, his wife Ellie answered and told Ted to take the call. Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney was calling to say he liked the show.

FISHING FOR HOMERS

Minnesota Twins teammates honoured Jim Thome on Thursday night at Target Field.

Thome hit his 600th homer on Monday night at Comerica Park in Detroit, joining Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ken Griffey, Alex Rodriguez and Sammy Sosa in that select club.

So, what do players give the man who has 600 homers — 37 of those in a Twins — uniform and nine career grand slams?

An all-expenses paid trip to Wollaston Lake Lodge in northern Saskatchewan, where fishing is king: Northern pike, lake trout, arctic grayling and walleye ... otherwise known as the grand slam of freshwater fishing.

A GIANT-SIZED DISABLED LIST

The defending World Series champs are hitting like chumps without injured Buster Posey, Freddy Sanchez and Carlos Beltran.

Tim Lincecum gave up a Chipper Jones homer Thursday night and lost 1-0. In 10 of his 26 starts, the Giants provided zero run support for him. Lincecum has allowed zero or one earned run in 15 of his 26 starts this year but has a 10-3 record with two no-decisions in those games.

Overall this year, the slender right-hander is 11-10 with a 2.54 ERA. Since the all-star break, he has a 1.17 ERA in seven starts, yet he's 4-3.

The Giants, meanwhile, have used the disabled list 21 times for 18 players, compared with last year, when they used it 15 times for 13 players — and not nearly as many marquee names.

JUSTIN'S CASE

Does that Justin Verlander guy have any competition for the American League Cy Young Award?

Going into Monday's start against Tampa Bay, he's won six straight, giving him 18 on the season, for the fourth time in his career.

No other Tigers hurler has won 18 games in a season since 1991, when former Montreal Expo Bill Gullickson won 20.

Verlander went over the 200-strikeouts mark Tuesday against the Minnesota Twins, the first Tiger to have three straight 200K seasons since Mickey Lolich had six from 1969-74.

The last three times the Tigers have won the World Series, one of their pitchers was that season's AL MVP: Willie Hernandez (1984), Denny McLain (1968) and Hal Newhouser (1945).


Videos

Photos