March 24, 2012
Jays notes: Lawrie returns against BoSox
By Mike Rutsey, QMI Agency
Brett Lawrie got another day off Saturday but manager John Farrell vowed he’d have the Jays third baseman back in the lineup to face the Red Sox on Sunday.
“He’s ready to go yet we’re holding him back one more day,” Farrell said Saturday. “That’s our choice on that. We’ve kind of taken it out of his hands but in his mind he’s ready to go today. He’s passed all the functional tests, the drill work that we’ve put him through but we’re going to go one more day with him. He’ll be in the lineup tomorrow (against Boston).”
Given that he hasn’t played since tweaking his left groin on St. Patrick’s Day, one more day didn’t seem to bother Lawrie.
“They are just making sure it’s 100%,” Lawrie said. “It feels good and everything. They want to make sure that when I do come back it’s going to be for a while, it’s not going to hurt itself again. We’re just making sure both legs are the same and my hips are aligned and make sure everything’s good so when I get back in there I’m going to be all right.
He added that he has no concern about having just over a week to get ready for the season opener.
I’ll jump back in,” he said. “It may take three or four at-bats to lock back in. I should be all right.”
LIND LAYS OFF THE SLIDER
Coming into the game against the Braves, first baseman Adam Lind was not having the best camp as he was 7-for-31 (.226) without a home run.
That all changed Saturday as Lind popped a three-run home run and added a triple when Braves right fielder Matt Diaz lost his fly ball in the clouds.
Afterwards, Lind was more excited about the 3-2 slider he took for ball four in the sixth inning.
Lind has been working hard at not chasing balls out of the strike zone — his theme is to be more controlled-aggressive at the plate. Not biting on that slider was proof his hard work is starting to pay off.
“I think the tale of today was that I took a back leg slider,” Lind said. “That was a big pitch for me because I’ve swung at that a lot in the past. Taking that and having not seen his (Cristhian Martinez) slider at all and taking that was good.”
Bigger than the home run?
“Yeah,” Lind replied. “Especially with what I’m trying to work on here in spring training.”
ALVAREZ SHARP FOR FIVE
There was plenty to like on the Jays pitching front Saturday.
Starter Henderson Alvarez threw five sharp innings as he allowed just one hit, didn’t walk a batter and struck out four. He was followed by closer Sergio Santos who appeared in a major league game for the first time since March 7.
“I thought he was outstanding,” manager John Farrell said of Alvarez. “It was a very positive five innings of work for him. He established a good tempo and good rhythm, threw three very good pitches and was in control the entire time he was out there today.”
Unlike his previous outing (in a minor-league game) Alvarez mixed in his slider.
“It’s a shorter, tighter breaking ball, couple of strikeouts with it,” Farrell said. “He ran it in on some left-handers’ hands effectively. He always has that changeup to go as a put-away pitch and he was impressive today.”
Ditto for Santos, who has been working in the bullpen to perfect his changeup.
“It was good to see him back out there,” Farrell said. “I thought he didn’t overthrow the baseball. He stayed within his delivery very well. We always see the type of slider he’s got — it’s a wipeout type of pitch. He threw three pitches for strikes and the changeups that he did throw were solid pitches for him.”
Blue Jays 9, Braves 0
* Eric Hinske started in left for Atlanta and was not booed in any of his at-bats.
* Starter Henderson Alvarez allowed one hit in his five innings.
* 1B Adam Lind hit his first home run of the spring, a three-run shot. He also tripled.
* 2B Kelley Johnson hit a three-run double in the Jays five-run fourth.
* INF Omar Vizquel was 2-for-4 and is hitting .429 (12-for-28) this spring.
* LF Eric Thames was 2-for-3 and is hitting .349 (15-for-43).