Lawrie goes yard in Pacific Northwest debut
More than 100 flock to see British Columbia native play in Seattle
SEATTLE -- It's listed as a road game on the schedule, but for Brett Lawrie, Monday night's 6-5 loss to the Mariners was a homecoming of sorts.
The third baseman was slotted in the No. 7 hole for the third consecutive game. Lawrie began his Major League career hitting ninth, but Blue Jays manager John Farrell opted to move him up because of the rookie's early success and his versatility at the plate.
Lawrie responded by belting a solo homer in his second at-bat off Mariners starter Michael Pineda, the third of his career.
Lawrie grew up in Langley, British Columbia, which is approximately a two-hour drive from Seattle. More than 100 friends and family members made the trip down to watch Lawrie make his debut on the West Coast.
They were joined by members of the Canadian media. That created another buzz, but it's nothing new for Lawrie, who has had to deal with that type of attention since arriving in the big leagues on Aug. 5.
"I think once between the lines, it's time to go," Lawrie said when asked how he deals with the exposure. "But you have to be humble, you have to be great to the fans, you have to be great to your teammates.
"One of the things is never forgetting where you came from, knowing your roots, trying to stay on that even plane, just remember who you are and be a good teammate and person."
Lawrie doesn't appear to be the type of person who has forgotten his roots. His hometown team in Langley recently won the Canadian Little League Championship to advance to the Little League World Series.
Toronto's rookie third baseman sent a note to the team, congratulating them on the win. It was a little extra-special for Lawrie, because the team is under the guidance of his former coach, Jason Andrew.
"That was very good to see," Lawrie said. "[Andrew] coached me a long time ago. Hats off to those guys, they're going to have a blast out there. I went to the Cal Ripken World Series when I was 11 and I had a blast."
Farrell also had some fun with the media from British Columbia. He especially enjoyed a question about Lawrie's level of intensity on the field and how it might compare to that of a football player.
"Let's be sure, for all the Canadian media, that it's a hockey mentality," Farrell joked. "But yeah, he's a high-energy player and the one thing that we talk about as a staff, with Alex [Anthopoulos] and the entire front office, we want to be sure that players are themselves and they don't have to feel they have to be someone other than who they are."
Lawrie is hitting .343 with three home runs and eight RBIs in 10 games.
Hill returns to lineup after two-day layoff
SEATTLE -- Aaron Hill was back in the Blue Jays' lineup on Monday night following a two-game absence.
The veteran second baseman was given the weekend off to spend extra time working with hitting coach Dwayne Murphy, and to receive a bit of a mental break.
Blue Jays manager John Farrell said he kept an open line of communication with Hill throughout the process to make sure he understood the reason for the layoff.
"Any time he was not in the lineup, it was not something he learned when he arrived at the ballpark," Farrell said. "There were conversations each night prior to let him know the thinking.
"As much as anything, it was to give himself a bit of a breather. He's been trying awful hard. It was just a two-game stint, but he's our second baseman."
After a 1-for-4 showing in Monday's 6-5 loss to the Mariners, Hill is hitting .226 with five home runs and 41 RBIs. Those numbers come on the heels of a disappointing 2010 campaign in which he hit .205, though he did record 26 homers and 68 RBIs.
That prompted Toronto not to exercise a three-year extension worth $26 million prior to the start of the season.
The club could now opt to pick up an $8 million option for the 2012 season or a two-year, $16 million tag. If the Blue Jays don't pick up the contract, then Hill would be eligible for free agency at the end of the season.
It's a complicated situation, and the lack of job security could be taking its toll on Hill, but Farrell said the attention has to remain on the field.
"If that enters a player's mind, at some point he has to get back to focusing on a thing he can control," Farrell said. "Whether it's a player who has the potential to be optioned out in Spring Training or a situation [like Hill's], it's what you can do to influence the decision.
"At this level, that's sometimes the hardest thing. There's so much attention and publicity, surrounding factors at a given moment, that the ability to focus in the moment is the truest test."
Travis Snider went 2-for-5 with a homer and two runs scored on Sunday for Triple-A Las Vegas. Snider is now batting .480 (12-for-25) with 10 RBIs and five stolen bases in six games since being optioned to the Minor Leagues.
As expected, utilityman Mike McCoy joined the Blue Jays in Seattle for Monday night's game against the Mariners. McCoy was recalled to fill the void left by outfielder Rajai Davis, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a torn left hamstring. It's the sixth time this season McCoy has been recalled by the team from Triple-A Las Vegas.