Blue Jays: Brett Lawrie to miss at least first four games on DL: Griffin
The Blue Jays have told injured third baseman Brett Lawrie that he will begin the season on the disabled list. Lawrie suffered an injury to his left ribcage in a tuneup for the World Baseball Classic on March 6 and has been working towards regaining his spot in time for opening day. The Jays have disabled the Langley (BC) flash retroactive to March 22, which means he is eligible to return on April 6 vs. the Red Sox. There are no guarantees.
What this move does is take the pressure off of Lawrie to push himself and possibly do further damage. Lawrie had progressed to taking groundballs and hitting off a tee, but the club felt that he would not be ready to contribute by April 2.
Manager John Gibbons also announced that J.P. Arencibia will be the opening day catcher for R.A. Dickey, signalling a change of plan from the original idea of finding a personal catcher for the knuckleballing Dickey in his first year with the Jays.
Josh Thole had been included in the Dickey trade with the Mets, largely because of his experience at catching the knuckleball in the three previous seasons. Then, later on, the Jays signed free agent catcher Henry Blanco, who had caught six Dickey starts in 2010. Blanco will start the season as Arencibia's backup with Thole being optioned to Buffalo on Monday. Arencibia is still expected to catch around 130 games if healthy.
In addition to Thole, righthander Brad Lincoln and outfielder Anthony Gose were also optioned. Non-roster righthander David Bush was sent to minor-league camp for assignment. Catcher Mike Nickeas has been notified that he will not make the opening day roster, but will stay with the Jays in major-league camp through the trip to Philadelphia.
With Lawrie on the disabled list, Gibbons said that he will alternate between Mark DeRosa and Maicer Izturis at third base depending on matchups. The likelihood is that until Lawrie returns, the Jays may carry 13 pitchers on the 25-man roster.