TORONTO – Brett Lawrie is off to a slow start at the plate, just 3-for-29 (. Babe Ruth Jersey Large .103) entering Wednesday nights tilt with the Astros. Approached to discuss his early season slump, Lawrie obliged but it wasnt long before he got a little help from a friend. "Hell be fine," Jose Reyes shouted as he walked by the discussion. The 24-year-old had a solid Grapefruit League, hitting .339/.373/.484 with two home runs. But thats spring training, the quality of pitching varies (Baseball Reference ranked Lawries mound opponents an 8.6/10) and the types of pitches that get thrown in certain counts are different; often times a pitcher goes into an appearance looking to work on specific parts of his repertoire. Eight games in, Lawrie insists hes not pressing. "Its a long season, man," said Lawrie. "I mean, weve still got 140-plus games so for me to push the panic button right now is no point because its a long year so stay healthy, just keep going and grinding and getting after it. The main thing is that were winning so obviously find positivity there and obviously look to do the job again today and find some way to contribute to the team." The thing is, Lawrie likely is pressing. The fact he doesnt want to talk about it, or admit to it, is fine. "Hes a little mental right now," said hitting coach Kevin Seitzer. "Hes sitting on pitches and hes guessing wrong is whats happening. When that happens you start to lose your approach; you want to get in just to try to hit the ball hard and that ends up being a recipe for disaster. Hes just pressing right now." Lawrie and Seitzer convened for an early Wednesday afternoon hitting session in the batting cage. The aim wasnt to go over significant mechanical tweaks but rather pitch recognition, which is sometimes compromised when a hitter struggles and begins to think too much in the batters box. It appears to the layman observer that the hitch Lawrie had last year has returned to his swing, which occurs just as hes cocking his bat to bring it through the strike zone. "He had some of that in spring training too," said Seitzer. "The late is from tension of reacting to fastballs instead of being ready to hit them and then when you do get one, when youre looking for one and you get it, then you try and do too much and that causes more tension." Manager John Gibbons goes out of his way to praise Lawries maturity, noting his third basemans ability to maintain his composure throughout the early season slump. "Hes come a long way," said Gibbons. Lawrie knows he can contribute in other areas. "Youve got both sides of the coin youve got to worry about," said Lawrie. "Ultimately, if I cant get it done on offence one day than hopefully I can help the team out on defence. Thats kind of how it goes, just try to find a way to contribute." CECIL TAKING CARE Brett Cecil was available for the Blue Jays on Wednesday night against the Astros. He had a 16-pitch, one inning appearance versus Houston on Tuesday and Cecils been careful since spring training not to overextend his arm. "Really what it comes down to is how I feel the day after and how much I can go, whether its just a hitter or a full inning," said Cecil. Cecil made a career-high 60 appearances in 2013, his first full season as a reliever. He was shut down in mid-September, however, suffering from elbow pain. "When I throw one day usually there are no problems, no stiffness," said Cecil. "When I throw two days in a row, the next day it will be a little bit sore. Unless its towards the end of the season, a playoff race or something, that would probably be the only time Id go three days in a row." WAGNER RECALLED Reliever Neil Wagner is back with the Blue Jays, recalled prior to Wednesdays game against the Astros. Right-hander Marcus Walden, who didnt get into a game since joining the Jays on Saturday, was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo. The Blue Jays made no secret that Wagners springtime demotion was strictly a business move – Wagner had an option left and others didnt. "Wagner came into his own last year," said manager John Gibbons. "Hes a guy that can get some big outs late in the game for you." With Casey Janssen still on the disabled list with an abdominal strain and Sergio Santos in the closers role in Janssens stead, the Jays need another late-inning right-hander to work alongside Steve Delabar. Wagner fits the mold. With his mid-to-high 90s fastball, the 30-year-old stuck out 33 hitters in 38 innings over 36 appearances for the Blue Jays last season. BASEBALL PODCAST Each week, Ill sit down with Toronto Star baseball columnist Richard Griffin and MLB.coms Blue Jays beat reporter Gregor Chisholm for the Baseball Podcast. Well discuss the latest news surrounding the ballclub. The aim will be record the podcast each Wednesday but will depend on our respective schedules. Well keep you posted on Twitter. Click here for the first edition, recorded the afternoon of Wednesday, April 9. We talk about the early season performance of the starting rotation, hitters running hot and cold through the first week of the season and last weeks salary deferral revelations. Jeremy Walker Jersey . -- Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew practiced in a limited capacity Friday, a positive sign he might be able to play against the Tennessee Titans. Authentic Custom Braves Jersey .Y. -- It was as if Matt Moulson never left the New York Islanders.COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Nick Foligno may miss the final six games of the regular season with a lower-body injury, leaving the Columbus Blue Jackets without one of their leaders in the thick of a playoff race. Foligno has 18 goals, 21 assists and a plus-5 rating in 70 games. He was hurt late in Thursday nights 2-0 victory at Philadelphia when he banged knees with Flyers forward Scott p;Hartnell. Gary Matthews Jersey. Coach Todd Richards says its "more than likely" Foligno will miss the rest of the teams regular-season games. Matt Frattin was set to take his place in the lineup Friday night against Chicago. Folignos younger brother, Marcus, was also injured in the Buffalo Sabres game Thursday night and is expected to miss the rest of the season. ' ' '
help from a friend
help from a friend