ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie is headed to the disabled list with his ribcage injury not progressing quickly enough for him to return to the lineup in the coming days.
The move is be retroactive to Aug. 4, the day after he came out of a game in Oakland following a swing that left him clutching at the right side of his chest, and a corresponding move, possibly for another pitcher, will be made Friday ahead of a series opener against the New York Yankees at Rogers Centre.
"There’s that thought, getting back on a home schedule where you’ve got the extra inning to pitch in a worst-case scenario," Farrell said Thursday morning. "The fact is our guys have thrown the ball well, going with an additional reliever obviously limits the options available on the bench."
Lawrie expressed optimism after working out and throwing the ball Wednesday but after hitting off a tee Thursday didn’t have the range of motion needed.
Though Farrell said Lawrie could play if needed, caution was heeded since "if he takes another aggressive swing and he has to come out of a game, then we’re looking at a prolonged shutdown at that point. We’ve got a week under his belt with treatment and improvement, yet there’s additional time needed."
Lawrie joins fellow position players Jose Bautista, Adam Lind and J.P. Arencibia on the DL, an attrition that has decimated the club’s offence.
Bautista underwent a second MRI on Wednesday and the results showed a slight improvement in his wrist injury. He’s due to resume his rehab program, shutdown after some pain last week in Seattle, on Monday.
"It’ll be a progression but I don’t think I have to go all the way back to just dry swings," Bautista said when asked if he was facing a total reset. "I think I’ll hit the ball right out of the gates (off a tee) and take it from there."
That was good news after some concern that perhaps his injury was worse than expected after his recovery plateaued. Bautista said that wasn’t unexpected since the initial shutdown period recommendation was four weeks, but things were sped up after two weeks because he felt so good.
At no point, he said, had shutting things down for the season been discussed.
"The fact is I just need to get healthy so when I come back I can have my natural swing and not be swinging at 80-percent, 70-percent," Bautista said. "And at the same time not hurt it any worse than what I did when I first got injured."
The news is less encouraging with Lind, who has progressed to batting practice but still has issues with his back the following day.
"His own comments after a solid workout are that if he were to play today, he doesn’t know if he can go back-to-back days," said Farrell. "It’s a grey area to say the least."
MORROW TOO GOOD: Brandon Morrow (oblique) allowed two runs on three hits and a walk with two strikeouts over five innings in a rehab start for double-A New Hampshire on Wednesday, and while all went well, the problem is he was too efficient for his own good.
The goal was to get him through five innings and up to 65 pitches, but he needed just 51 pitches to accomplish the former. The aim was to have him through 85 pitches his next time out Tuesday – the number the team had in mind before a return to the big-leagues – but his next time out will now likely be more in the 65 range instead.
"Is it enough (for activation off the DL afterwards)? Yeah, it’s enough," said Farrell. "Is it ideal? No, it’s not."
Depending on how things go next week, Morrow may now need a third start with the Fisher Cats before returning to the Blue Jays.
"What’s most important is that he came out of (Wednesday) night with no ill-effects to the oblique, he showed consistent velocity like he showed prior to the injury, upper 90s (Wednesday) night," said Farrell. "An encouraging day for him."