TORONTO – As quickly as Brett Lawrie returned to the Blue Jays' lineup, he was lost to the ballclub once again.
Lawrie, who returned in time for Tuesday night's important series opener against the Orioles after missing six weeks and 36 games with a fractured right index finger, was lifted from the game after three innings with lower back tightness. The move, the Blue Jays announced in-game, was precautionary.
"We don't think it's serious," said manager John Gibbons. "He said it felt it tightened up on him a little bit during (batting practice) and then in the game he felt it. Day-to-day."
"It was kind of just grabbing at me as I was warming up and going about my day. Something was just grabbing at me a little bit," said Lawrie. "The more I kind of went about my business and what I was trying to do it was like, there's something in there that's bothering me and I better take care of this before it gets serious."
Lawrie, who singled on a groundball down the first base line in his only at-bat, will have an MRI on Wednesday. He has a history of core body injuries, specifically his oblique, but he hasn't suffered back injuries.
"That's basically it because it could be a number of different things," said Lawrie. "We basically figured that we'll go in there and we'll really see what it is instead of playing the guessing game. You can have a number of people telling you what's going on and what's wrong but until you really get to the bottom of things and you really check things out, that's when you'll know."
In the meantime, working off the assumption Lawrie won't require another trip to the disabled list, Gibbons would be left with a three-man bench for as long as Lawrie is unavailable.
Lawrie was activated from his finger-related stint on the disabled list prior to Tuesday's game and the corresponding roster move was made easy when Steve Tolleson was placed on the paternity list. Tolleson and his wife welcomed a daughter on Tuesday.
The paternity list allows for Tolleson to be gone for three days, which means the club will have to adjust the roster again by no later than Friday.
Again, working off the assumption Lawrie will not need another trip to the disabled list, there are three prime candidates to be sent to Buffalo when Tolleson is activated. They are Ryan Goins, Munenori Kawasaki and Chad Jenkins. Eliminate Jenkins because the Jays won't whittle down to a six-man bullpen. That leaves the two left-handed hitting infielders from which to choose. It says here the player who should be optioned is Kawasaki. Goins is the better defender and, frankly, has made better contact more consistently since his recall from Triple-A Buffalo on July 22.
The Jays will eventually have further decisions to make when Adam Lind, who could begin a minor league rehabilitation assignment in a matter of days and Edwin Encarnacion, who's still a while from being ready, make their returns. Remember that rosters expand on September 1, meaning any player on a team's 40-man roster is eligible to join the big league club for the remainder of the regular season. Whoever is sent down will be recalled no later than that date.
A brief message from manager John Gibbons last Thursday in Houston is the extent to which Blue Jays players have heard anything from anyone in the organization about the inactivity at the trade deadline.
"I talked to our guys in our advance, just something brief but I said 'Hey, we've got a good ballclub. Let's run with it,'" said manager John Gibbons. "Remember, when new guys come in, it means someone in this room goes. Everyone wants to be part of it."
General manager Alex Anthopoulos, who's cut his travel with the big league club considerably this season, surprised some players with his decision not to fly to Houston and address the team.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the first time the team had gathered in the home clubhouse in 12 days, nothing had been said to the group by Anthopoulos or anyone higher in the Blue Jays' front office.