TORONTO -- Brett Lawrie is starting to turn into the complete package that many envisioned that he'd be.
Lawrie teased fans with his energetic and exceptional play over a brief period last season and showed a glimpse of the type of player he is bound to become.
His play of late has impressed manager John Farrell.
"He's become more confident with games played at [third base]," Farrell said. "I don't think we work on his range -- his range is what it is because of his athleticism. ... He's been outstanding regardless of what statistical evaluation will show just watching his range.
"He's got the ability to make not only the average or everyday play but the well-above average and spectacular play. We are fortunate to be able to watch him day in and day out."
Lawrie's biggest knock before he arrived last season was his defense. The 22-year-old switched positions multiple times in the Minors and had to learn third base on the fly, but he has silenced the skeptics with his phenomenal play -- and the defensive stats support him.
According to Baseball Reference, Lawrie's 2.5 defensive WAR (wins above replacement) is tops among all players in the game. His 3.0 WAR, which combines both offensive and defensive elements, is third in baseball, behind former MVPs Josh Hamilton and Joey Votto.
Fangraphs, another website that tracks advanced statistics, uses a tool called UZR (ultimate zone rating) to evaluate a player's defensive value. Lawrie is the second-best defensive third baseman in the Majors according to that metric.
"This didn't happen just because we put him over there, he made it happen," Farrell said about Lawrie's ability to play third.
Farrell sees a young, mature player coming into his own, one who is starting to figure things out at the plate as well. But he admits there is still work to be done.
"He has shown some signs of late of driving the ball with a little bit more consistency," Farrell said. "He probably isn't on time as much as last year, and that is a continued work in progress.
"When a guy comes up to the big leagues the first time, they are typically on a roll, and they are unknown. Now all of a sudden, you start the first full season, where pitchers have a little idea of a given player -- they are able to command their stuff with much more consistency. I think it's harder for a position player in their first full season to get on that same type of roll that they might have shown in 150 at-bats a year ago. That is just the level of competition."
Lawrie burst onto the scene in 2011, with nine home runs and a .958 OPS in 150 at-bats. This season he has four homers and a .698 OPS, but he has picked it up of late.
Entering play on Saturday, Lawrie had collected a hit in eight of his past nine games and has squared up on some balls really hard, including a three-hit effort against the Orioles on Friday.
Confident Cooper making an impact
TORONTO -- David Cooper has made a positive impression since being recalled on May 25. Entering Saturday's game he was batting .360 over eight games. He hit his first homer in Friday's loss and was the only Blue Jays player to have a multihit game against Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz.
Manager John Farrell thinks Cooper has shown improved confidence from when he was called up to Toronto last season, and he is impressed with his presence at the plate.
"He's got a very natural swing, a low-maintenance swing that he repeats consistently," Farrell said. "When he gets his pitch in the strike zone, he's able to square it up routinely."
For his part, Cooper doesn't believe there is much to his success. He's simply staying within himself and, so far, seeing results.
"I feel great. I'm seeing the ball well," Cooper said "I'm just really confident in the box right now. I don't have the 'high-tower power,' as they call it. The kind of player that I really want to be is gap-to-gap -- a high-average player.
"I'm staying with my approach more. So far I haven't been chasing a lot."
Cooper, 25, was Toronto's first-round Draft pick in 2008, and he got his first taste of the big leagues last season, appearing in 27 games. The first baseman has never been known as a power hitter, but at Triple-A Las Vegas in 2011, he led the Pacific Coast League with a .364 average and 51 doubles.
Encouraging signs for Santos after sessions
TORONTO -- Sergio Santos' throwing program is starting to evolve. The closer threw 25 pitches off a mound on Saturday and is scheduled to do the same on Monday.
Manager John Farrell referred to Saturday's session as a "controlled bullpen" that saw the right-hander throw only fastballs.
Farrell said that it wasn't a maximum-effort session and that there is still no timetable for Santos' return, but he believes the fact that he is throwing off a mound is encouraging.
"You can't fast-forward," Farrell said when asked when Santos could be back. "The calendar might say one thing, but his body is going to be [saying] another thing. You are probably looking at three or four bullpens before he sees hitters."
Farrell doesn't expect Santos to faces batters for at least another week; from there Toronto will be able to get a better read on his status moving forward.
Santos hasn't pitched since April 20, landing on the disabled list with inflammation in his right shoulder.
The 28-year-old has appeared in six games, collecting two saves while blowing two and recording a 9.00 ERA.
Blue Jays claim Schwinden, DFA Farquhar
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays claimed Chris Schwinden on waivers from the Mets and, to make room on the 40-man roster, designated Daniel Farquhar for assignment.
Schwinden appeared in three games, including two starts, for the Mets this season, posting an 0-1 record and 12.46 ERA. The 25-year-old will report to Triple-A Las Vegas.
Farquhar, meanwhile, appeared in 20 games in relief at Double-A New Hampshire, with one save and a 2.97 ERA.
Farquhar was Toronto's 10th-round Draft pick in 2008 and made his big league debut with the club last season. In three games with the Blue Jays, he had a 13.50 ERA.
Travis Snider is expected to get three at-bats as a designated hitter in an extended spring training game on Saturday.
Snider, who has landed on the disabled list twice since the beginning of the season because of problems in his right wrist, recently hit off a tee and took soft toss and batting practice. There is no timetable for his return.
Chris Toman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.