March 2, 2013
Jays' Lawrie and Gibbons: Opposites attract
Low-key manager likes what he sees in high-strung third baseman
By STEVE SIMMONS, QMI Agency

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons heard plenty about dealing with rambunctious third baseman Brett Lawrie (above) when he took over the club. But it's been so far, so good this spring as the Jays have made harnessing Lawrie's talent into a team project. (Reuters)

With his driver behaving rather recklessly years ago, the car owner Roger Penske said this about Paul Tracy, “I can teach him to slow down. But I can’t teach someone to speed up.”

John Gibbons laughed when he heard the anecdote, knowing the Penske logic can apply to his dealing with third baseman Brett Lawrie. And it has been a fascinating meeting of the minds thus far at spring training watching the low-key Gibbons and high-strung Lawrie forge a relationship: Dealing with Lawrie, everyone told Gibbons, would be among his greatest challenges in the new job as manager.

So far, he hasn’t seen it that way. Lawrie has become something of a team project for the Blue Jays, trying to harness all that talent while not running away with matters. But it starts with the manager, who didn’t go looking for information on Lawrie before spring training began. The information went looking for him.

“I really didn’t ask (anybody about him),” said Gibbons. “Everybody told me.”



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