Jose Bautista has some simple advice for Brett Lawrie the next time he tries to steal home while he’s at the plate with two out and the bases loaded.
The morning after Lawrie’s ill-fated attempt to steal home in the bottom of the second inning in Saturday’s 6-4 loss to the visiting Baltimore Orioles, Bautista refrained from criticizing his 22-year-old teammate for taking the bat out of his hands with runners in scoring position.
“He’s an aggressive player and that’s what led him here,” Bautista said Sunday morning prior to that afternoon’s game against the Orioles. “Whenever he feels that he needs to take chance on a play like that, he has to in order to stay true to his nature. If he slides with his feet a little more forward, he would have been safe so I don’t necessarily think that it was a bad idea, because he would have been successful if he just slides the correct way.”
If Bautista had one quibble with the play, it was that Lawrie broke for the plate too late in the at-bat.
“Ideally it’s not the best situation when the hitter at the plate has two strikes because if the pitch is delivered then I have to swing or I’m out and the inning’s over,” he explained, adding the play did not decide the outcome of the game. “I think it was a gutsy play and I think he got it correct. He just didn’t slide the proper way.”
Less forgiving, both following the game Saturday and again Sunday morning, was Blue Jays manager John Farrell. Though surprised by Lawrie’s decision, Farrell did concede it’s not uncommon for young, aggressive players such as Lawrie to run into trouble on the basepaths from time-to-time.
“I think with high-energy players early in their career, there’s going to be some learning opportunity and yesterday was one of them,” said Farrell. “But the one thing we set out in spring training was ‘let’s push the limit and we’ll pull back when we deem necessary.’
“And (Saturday) was certainly one of them.”
When a reporter suggested to Farrell Sunday that Lawrie seemed to express few regrets about the incident, the Blue Jays skipper simply said the coaching staff will deliver the message again.
“That’s our job to continue to educate him,” said Farrell. “Game-awareness is very important. You don’t want to take the aggressiveness away from the player, but part of that learning curve is the continued education of game situations.”