"We'll increase his baseball activity today, particularly with ground balls, little bit more lateral work," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said Thursday. "He is not in the lineup today, and right now we'll push that back until Saturday at the earliest. He continues to be improved every day but consistent with what we've stated about him, we're going to err on the side of caution.
"He's making steady progress, this isn't because of a setback in any way but it's just a gradual ramping up of the activities and being sure that any discomfort, which there is not right now. We just want to be sure we take him through the appropriate progression."
Last year, Lawrie hit .293 with nine home runs and 25 RBIs while posting a .953 OPS in just 150 at-bats. He entered Thursday's game leading the Blue Jays in doubles (six), stolen bases (five) and average (.609), while also posting a .957 slugging percentage despite playing in only nine games.
If this was the regular season, Lawrie's timetable likely would be much different, but with two weeks to go until Opening Day, the Blue Jays feel there is plenty of time to get the native of Langley, British Columbia, ready for the start of the season.
"I'm sure he would be kicking the door down to get back into the lineup," said Farrell, who added he would like to get Lawrie into six or seven games before the start of the season. "Most importantly is his feedback to the treatment, to the agility work he's going through right now and all of that is solid, all of that is fine. We're probably slowing him down against his wishes but we feel like we're taking the appropriate steps if that's the case."
In other injury news, left fielder Eric Thames made his return to the lineup on Thursday afternoon against the Phillies. The Blue Jays left fielder missed one game because of cramping in a calf muscle but arrived to the Florida Auto Exchange Stadium feeling ready to go.