Since moving into the leadoff spot for 31 of the Blue Jays' past 32 games entering play last night, third baseman Brett Lawrie has been a spark plug for the offence.
In that time, Lawrie has batted .299 (40-for-134) with nine doubles, one triple, three home runs, 12 RBIs and 25 runs scored.
He has been particularly adept at getting on base in the first inning. In his last 31 games before last night, Lawrie was 14-for-31 in the first inning for a .432 average with five doubles, one triple and one home run. In his last 24 games in the first inning, he has gone 13-for-24 (.542).
"In a way it kind of gets me pumped up more," Lawrie said of being the first Jays hitter in the game.
"I feel like I can be that spark, I feel like I am that spark, just to get on and try to get something going."
SUCCESS FOR MORROW
Right-hander Brandon Morrow, who has been on the disabled list since June 12 because of a strained left oblique, threw his first bullpen session Friday in Dunedin and it was a success.
"A good 'pen today. He felt good about it," manager John Farrell said.
"He didn't feel any signs of the oblique strain during the session."
If Morrow feels no ill effect Saturday, Farrell said Morrow would throw another bullpen Monday. Then it would be bullpens every third day with a total of three BP sessions before he throws live BP. Farrell added they don't have a return date even in a best-case scenario.
"It's safe to say he'll need three to five starts in a rehab assignment to build back up," Farrell added. "He's still a little ways away."
ON THE SIDE
Rookie reliever Aaron Loup will give the hitters a different look when he comes to the mound. The 24-year-old rookie left-hander was called up Thursday as a replacement for lefty Luis Perez, who suffered a ligament tear in his elbow in Sunday's game in Chicago. A ninth-round pick by the Jays in 2009, Loup was 0-3 with a 2.78 ERA and three saves in 37 appearances at double-A New Hampshire. Initially, Loup will be used in situational roles against left-handed hitters.
"I'm a sidearm lefty, throw 90-93 with a big slider, changeup, that's about it," Loup said when describing what he brings to the mound. "I just try to go after guys and get people out."
When he was drafted Loup said he threw with a conventional three-quarter delivery but the Jays raised him up a bit more. When that didn't work out he dropped down to the side and has found that he has much better movement with the lower delivery.
Loup said he half-expected getting the call from the Jays.
"I was kind of surprised but kind of not surprised," he said. "I thought I might kind of have a slight chance (to replace Perez). I didn't know if I'd get it for sure or not but I was pitching well and I had a chance."