No longer on left side, Lawrie is Reyes' new partner
BALTIMORE -- Following a blockbuster offseason trade with the Marlins, Blue Jays fans were giddy at the thought of a left side of the infield that featured three-time All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes and former top prospect Brett Lawrie. But injuries forced each player to miss some time in the season's first half.
The two batted in the same lineup for the first time in Saturday's 7-3 win against the Orioles, but it was not on par with preseason projections. It was as double play partners.
Lawrie, who returned Saturday after missing six weeks with a sprained ankle, has shifted to the other side of second base and will now learn on the fly how to coexist with Reyes in the middle infield.
"I think for him, the transition is not going to be too hard, because he used to play second base," Reyes said. "It's different when you go there for the first time and you don't know what's going on. I don't see a big deal."
Lawrie was primarily a second baseman in the Brewers' Minor League system, so it's a position he says he's very comfortable playing. It may take some time to readjust, but Lawrie said Friday he believed turning the double play is like riding a bicycle, and that the switch allows him to use his range and athleticism.
Still, it can be more difficult to make a move like Lawrie's without the benefit of Spring Training, Reyes said.
"Of course, when you go in the middle of the season and you try to learn a new position, it's a little bit harder," Reyes said. "You don't have too much time to learn, because it's all about winning on the field, it's not about a learning process. We're trying to do something, we're trying to win here."
But manager John Gibbons said Friday the Blue Jays wouldn't have made the move if they didn't feel comfortable with Lawrie in the field. He believes Lawrie's energy and offensive ability could provide a spark to the team as it prepares for the post-All-Star break stretch, a notion with which Reyes agrees.
Lawrie's production figures to be a boost to the team's production at second base, where Blue Jays players hit a combined .214 before Lawrie's return. The team has done a little better offensively at third, though, where the collective batting line was .239/.299/.409, with Maicer Izturis and Mark DeRosa splitting time.
"The energy is another level. You always want somebody with a lot of energy. It's good to have him back," Reyes said. "It's no doubt, we know when he hits, he's going to contribute a lot to the team. The energy that he brings is on another level. It's something we're going to need and we just need him healthy for the whole second half. If he can stay healthy, he can put up some numbers and help our ballclub."