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Lawrie's time has come, so Snider had to go

The Sports Xchange

Ever since his strong spring training, Blue Jays fans have eagerly awaited the major league debut of 21-year-old Brett Lawrie of Langley, British Columbia.

It happens Friday night in Baltimore. It was announced after Thursday's 7-6, 12-inning loss at Tampa Bay that Lawrie was being promoted from Class AAA Las Vegas.

But the move has ramifications. The good and obvious one was that Jose Bautista returns to right field, where he should have stayed all along. Not that he isn't a good third baseman, but because the Blue Jays do not have another right-fielder who comes to close to him.

The other major ramification came down to deciding who stays and who goes. It had to be an outfielder obviously.

There was discussion about this between general manager Alex Anthopoulos and manager John Farrell. The one to go, for now, is Travis Snider and the one to stay is Eric Thames, both young outfielders who have struggled recently but also had good stretches during July.

Snider has been sent on option to Class AAA Las Vegas for the second time this season.

When Lawrie was close to come up earlier this season when he started his season so well at Las Vegas, the likely decision would have been to shove aside Edwin Encarnacion, Anthopoulos said on Thursday. But as he said, things change.

"It was not an easy decision to make," Anthopoulos said. "It really came down to between Eric Thames and Travis. If you had asked me a month and a half ago or something like that potentially Edwin Encarnacion may have been moved to the bench.

"John and I have talked about it at length. Again, player performance is really what it came down to. Both players we see as having a chance to be here long-term and having a chance to be part of this core. ... On the season overall Eric's played a little bit better than Travis. We had to make a decision, but it could have gone the other way as well. Things can change."

Encarnacion was struggling in the field and at the plate in May, when Lawrie was close to being called up. Now he is hitting well as the designated hitter and also is playing better when used in the field, either at third base or at first.

The Blue Jays have an option on Encarnacion for next season and so Anthopoulos wants to see him continue to play to help the evaluation process.

Lawrie was hit by a pitch on May 31, breaking a bone in his left hand, so a decision on whom to move to make room for the top prospect was delayed. Now he has recovered and regained his timing, and he will make his debut on the road where it is hoped there will be less pressure and commotion around him.

"The rationale here is strictly that we had to make a decision where we wanted to find out about Brett Lawrie sooner rather than later," Anthopoulos said.

"And we wanted to get him some August at-bats to get a little bit more of a read on him. So he deserved to be up here."

Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.


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