Lawrie happy to make home debut

Lawrie happy to make home debut

TORONTO -- Brett Lawrie made his long-awaited debut at Rogers Centre on Tuesday night against the Athletics.

Lawrie went 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts, but received a standing ovation from the crowd during his first at-bat north of the border.

The 21-year-old officially broke into the Major Leagues on Friday in Baltimore, but the series opener against Oakland was his first opportunity to wear the home jersey.

"It was pretty cool," Lawrie said following his club's 4-1 loss. "As soon as I stood up there, everyone kind of gave me a standing ovation. It kind of pumped me up and got my heart going a little bit.

"I was just trying to see some pitches. I never faced Rich Harden before, I watched a little bit of video on him before, but I was just trying to see some pitches and it was unfortunate tonight that I didn't get a hit."

Lawrie came to the Blue Jays with lofty expectations following an offseason trade for No. 1 starter Shaun Marcum with Milwaukee. The pressure increased with an impressive run at Triple-A Las Vegas, where he hit .353 with 18 homers and 61 RBIs for the 51s despite missing six weeks with a fractured left hand.

The native of Langley, British Columbia carried that success during his first weekend with the Blue Jays. He went 5-for-11 with a home run and two RBIs during his first three games.

"I like to lead by example," Lawrie said. "I like to go out there and play the game hard and be known that way -- not for the guy off the field. I like to be known as the guy who plays his butt off, goes out there for teammates and for the fans and for his family. I think I do a good job of that."

Lawrie's debut at Rogers Centre was a homecoming of sorts. The third baseman was a member of Team Canada, which played here at the World Baseball Classic in 2009. He also was on the field with the Canadian Junior National team and at a Blue Jays mini-camp earlier this year.

The moment that sticks out the most, though, was a trip he made to the stadium when as a kid. Lawrie was part of a British Columbia team that took part in a Hit, Run and Throw competition.

Lawrie, who said he was eight or nine years old at the time, had a discarded box of Glosette Raisins and filled it with dirt from the pitcher's mound. He told his parents he would return it when he made it to the big leagues.

"It's obviously kind of special," said Lawrie, who said the box is still at his parents' home in Langley. "I didn't know what was going to happen when I got older and kind of forgot about it. Then all of a sudden I got traded to the Blue Jays and 'Boom!' it kind of popped back up."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.