December 11, 2012
Brett Lawrie: Blue Jays 'on quest for World Series'
By RICHARD ZUSSMAN, QMI Agency
LANGLEY, B.C. - Canadians playing for the Toronto Blue Jays have been rare. A blossoming superstar expected to play a major role for a squad contending for a World Series is unheard of.
That's the position Langley's Brett Lawrie finds himself. The Canadian third baseman, who was in town to launch a Jays Care community clubhouse in Langley, is expected to provide speed and hustle to a lineup that has added all-stars Jose Reyes, Melky Cabrera, Mark Buerhle and Josh Johnson in the off-season.
"I've got to introduce myself to everyone. I really haven't had a chance to play with these guys yet, so it will be a new clubhouse," Lawrie said Tuesday. "I feel like it will be a good core of guys. We are definitely on a quest for a World Series."
How Lawrie will fit in the lineup is still a question mark. He was penciled in to hit lead-off in 2011 before getting injured and missing 37 games. Now, with top of the order stalwarts Reyes and Cabrera in the fold, Lawrie will be bumped down the lineup.
"Whatever spot I am going to be put in is where I am going to be. I'm not too worried if I'm first or if I'm ninth, as long as I get an opportunity to help my teammates," he added.
Expectations for Canada's only Major League Baseball club have not been this high since back-to-back World Series titles in the early 1990s. A new manager will be guiding the squad, with John Gibbons back in uniform, and the expectations have baseball fans coast-to-coast already talking.
"I'm lucky because I get an opportunity to play for my country, not a lot of people get to do that," he said. "Especially just being in Canada alone, you can see how far that it has come across Canada. It is not just Toronto's team, it is Canada's team."
Before Lawrie checks in with Canada's team at spring training, he will be suiting up for Team Canada. The 22-year-old is expected to be a star for the red and white in the World Baseball Classic, a multi-nation tournament that takes place every four years.
"There is just something about being with Team Canada, it is just part of the national team thing I have done since a young age, since I was 14 or 15 years old, those are memories you carry for a long time," he added. "There is no baseball in the Olympics any more so this is what we have got now to compete at a national level."
Lawrie played for Canada in 2009 and appeared once, pinch running against Italy.
Joking, the third baseman added, "but what a great pinch run it was."