On the surface, the move of Brett Lawrie from third base to second as he returned to the Rogers Centre on Friday in an 8-5 loss to the Rays makes no sense in terms of what the Blue Jays are attempting to accomplish this year. Especially if the only other move is to have Maicer Izturis remain at third where he had been filling in for the injured Langley, B.C., native. Why bother with the change? Is second base Lawrie’s future or will he eventually be back at third? It didn’t take long for the Lawrie position shift to make its mark — and not in a positive way. The fifth batter of the game, Kelly Johnson, grounded into the hole between first and second base. Lawrie glided to his left but bobbled the ball, recovering to make a late throw as Wil Myers moved over to third. Starter Esmil Rogers escaped that no-out situation with a couple of flyballs and a nice play by J.P. Arencibia. Lawrie’s second chance was in the sixth, a smooth glove play on a hard grounder. “The key is he played that most of his career coming up in Milwaukee, so that’s nothing new to him,” Jays manager John Gibbons said of his reasoning. “It’s just repetitions. He and (coach) Luis (Rivera) will get together. The big thing is he’s got to work with (Jose) Reyes, because that’s new to him. It’s new to both of them. We’ll see how well that works out. I kind of like the look of it. We’ll see.” The decision to move the hyper-energetic 23-year-old from the right-hand side of Reyes to his left and team him up as his double-play partner was originally Gibbons idea when Reyes was hurt, but it would not have been attempted on his recent injury rehab option without the blessing of the GM Alex Anthopoulos. One thing that Anthopoulos said when he re-hired Gibbons was that he trusted his judgment in the area of player evaluation, and in the manager’s judgment the change was made. Following just eight minor-league rehab games at second, and two earlier in April, Lawrie made his return to the major-league lineup in Baltimore just prior to the all-star break. In that series against the O’s, in two starts and 17 innings Lawrie had just three putouts and two assists.
Blue Jays’ move of Brett Lawrie to second may not be final position
Toronto Star | Jul 20