Blue Jays pay Ottawa a visit

Toronto Blue Jays infielder Brett Lawrie greets three-month-old Athena Farrell at St. Laurent...

Toronto Blue Jays infielder Brett Lawrie greets three-month-old Athena Farrell at St. Laurent Shopping Centre on Sunday during the team's Winter Tour, which is in Ottawa until Monday. (TONY CALDWELL/QMI Agency)

Bruce Garrioch, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:37 PM ET

Brett Lawrie looked good in a Senators jersey standing in the penalty box at Scotiabank Place during the warmup for Sunday’s game between Ottawa and the Flyers.

He is at home in a Blue Jays uniform.

The Toronto third baseman, who is in Ottawa until Monday with catcher J.P. Arencabia, along with pitchers Ricky Romero and Casey Janssen, for the club’s annual Winter Tour, is a rarity for a Canadian athlete.

“I never did (play hockey growing up),” said Lawrie, who has befriended Leafs forwards Colby Armstrong and Tyler Bozak. “I always played basketball in the wintertime. I just never played hockey. I never had a love for it.

“They say I have a hockey player’s mentality, but I’m a baseball player, so in that sense I’m Canadian, so I guess you’re kind of born with it.”

The 21-year-old Langley, B.C., native is a highly touted prospect in the Jays organization. He was called up last season and made his Major League Baseball debut on Aug. 5, 2011 against the Baltimore Orioles, going 2-for-4.

While his season ended in late September because of a broken finger, Lawrie had a .293 average with nine home runs and 25 RBI in 43 games. He has spent the off-season between Arizona and Vancouver getting ready for an important season.

He is taking nothing for granted.

“I always have a chip on my shoulder. I’m never going to be one to say I’m on the major-league roster,” said Lawrie. “I’m not going to say that I’m on the team. I just want to go out and prove that I’m going to be there.

“There’s always something to prove. You can get better every day and learn every day. I hope to be the starter on opening day, but there’s always work to be done. I’m excited to go to training camp and compete. Getting to major-league baseball is one thing, staying is another. I’ve established myself a bit, but I haven’t had a full season.”

Lawrie doesn’t want anybody to be alarmed he wore a Senators jersey.

“There will probably be some people upset (in Toronto), but it’s all in good fun. We’re Canada’s team, so we have to support everyone,” he said.

bruce.garrioch@sunmedia.ca


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