Four games for Lawrie

Brett Lawrie warms up prior to last night's game against the New York Yankees. He has been...

Brett Lawrie warms up prior to last night's game against the New York Yankees. He has been suspended four games for hitting umpire Bill Miller with a thrown helmet, but will appeal. (Reuters)

BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:03 AM ET

It was normal afternoon at the Rogers Centre.

Batting practice was unfolding around 4:15 p.m.

Hitters were making fair-foul calls on balls down the line, making fun of players getting jammed and popping up 58 m.p.h. heaters. Acquaintances were renewed and made behind the cage with the New York Yankees in town for the first game of a two-game series.

Blue Jays manager John Farrell was talking with ex-Jays lefty Al Leiter, now a Yankees broadcaster, when general manager Alex Anthopoulos approached.

Farrell introduced Leiter to Anthopoulos.

Anthopoulos should have been excited to meet an ex-Jay who actually had a World Series ring, but he had other things on his mind, excusing himself and taking Farrell with him.

A few moments later Anthopoulos approached Brett Lawrie near the cage. Lawrie had spiked a helmet after his called third strike in the ninth Tuesday, the helmet bouncing and hitting plate ump Bill Miller in the hip. 

Anthopoulos asked Lawrie to come see him in the clubhouse when he was finished.

“Good or bad?” asked Lawrie.

“Eggghhhhh,” replied Anthopoulos waving his hand in an iffy fashion.

Minutes later Jay Stenhouse of the Jays crack P.R. staff announced that Lawrie would be wearing the suspenders for four games, the Jays would appeal the suspension and Lawrie would play Wednesday against the Yanks.

The replay of the incident was shown maybe 52 times between the ruling by Major League Baseball in New York and the first pitch.

Both Lawrie and Anthopoulos explained to reporters that the helmet took one of “those bad bounces” you often get on turf. 

Except that Lawrie was standing on the dirt cut out portion when he fired the helmet at Miller’s feet after being rung up for strike three.

“The only regret is the helmet hitting him,” Lawrie told reporters. “I didn’t mean to do that. I threw it at the ground and it took a bad hop and it hit him, totally by accident.

“The only thing I would change is maybe not throw the helmet or throw any equipment toward an umpire because you know you can get an unlucky hop and have kind of the mess that’s going on right now.”

Lawrie said he planned on apologizing to Miller.

“I woke up today with a smile on my face,” said Lawrie. “It’s a new day at the park, I’m looking forward to getting a win against the Yankees.”

Fined

Anthopoulos said Lawrie, fined for throwing the helmet, would not be paid if suspended, while Philadelphia Phillies’ Cole Hamels was paid while serving his five-game suspension for hitting Bryce Harper with a pitch. Hamels also was fined.

“If they explain that four is the right amount of games to be suspended, Brett will be the first to say it’s the right amount,” Anthopoulos said. “I’m not going to blame him for being upset. That’s what a competitor is, but it’s the way you deal with it.

“If he throws the helmet a little bit right or left, we’re not even talking about this.”

But Lawrie, who took off for first on both the 3-1 and 3-2 pitches from Tampa Bay Rays closer Fernando Rodney, didn’t throw it left or right.  

Joe Torre is in charge of discipline for MLB. The old appeal way of life would see a suspended player wait until his hearing on the next trip into New York.

Anthopoulos said he expects a teleconference to happen next week.    

Lawrie’s former coach Doug Mathieson was asked if Lawrie had ever been ejected during his time with the Langley Blaze in the British Columbia Premier League.

“Not once, never,” said Mathieson. “He was always respectful to umpires. He didn’t have any ejections or suspensions. Only time I had to ever take him aside was when he didn’t run out a fly ball. He was in grade 10 then.

“He listened, said ‘sorry coach’ and he never did it again. I will never say anything bad about Brett ever, he’s a good kid.” 

Anthopoulos defended his third baseman, called out on a low strike by Dan Iassogna in the fifth Wednesday. Said how he was a “good kid”, praised him for always talking to the press and then told a story of when Anthopoulos was on the road scouting last month.

It was April 27. The Jays needed one out to win. 

Francisco Cordero induced Seattle Mariners pinch hitter Kyle Seager to hit a weak ground ball to third. 

Lawrie bounced the throw to first baseman Adam Lind and Seager scored two batters later. The M’s won on Mike Saunders grand slam in the 10th.

After the game, Anthopoulos’ Blackberry buzzed.

There was a text from Lawrie which read “my bad.”

Lawrie should be texting Miller and Torre, too. 


Photos