ST. PETERSBURG -- Blue Jays manager John Farrell would like to see a more even-keel approach from his players when it comes to dealing with disputed calls on the field.
Toronto's had multiple situations in recent weeks to varying degrees of intensity and there is a real danger that the club could become a target of umpires' scorn.
"There are going to be moments inside of a game where the emotions might be heightened because of the game situation, the score, the inning, who's involved," Farrell said. "It's upon all of us to remain composed and operate at that effort level that keeps people under control."
Third baseman Brett Lawrie was recently suspended four games for tossing his helmet in the direction of home-plate umpire Bill Miller. Lawrie also had another dispute on Tuesday night after he was ruled out for not touching second base on his way back to first on a deep fly ball in the eighth inning against the Rays.
Lawrie responded to the call by running toward second-base umpire Rob Drake. The conversation between the two was brief and Farrell quickly intervened as Lawrie walked off the field without incident, but Toronto's manager would still prefer to see the situation handled differently.
"Body language speaks volumes, and in light of recent events, I wanted to be sure it didn't escalate," Farrell said.
"Those are the things we continue to make him aware of, and how it can be perceived. That's part of our job in teaching and helping with his maturity, hopefully to shorten down that natural timeline. At the same time, he is a high-energy player, and we don't want that energy to be eliminated. We just want it channeled in the appropriate way."
Yunel Escobar also had a mini-altercation at the end of the game with home-plate umpire Sam Holbrook. Escobar disputed a strike-three call and walked off the field with several choice words for the umpire, which prompted Holbrook to stare into the visitors' dugout for an extended period, even as both sides began going into their respective clubhouses.
There's concern of potential lingering ill will from umpires toward the club because of Lawrie's recent incident and the seemingly daily arguments about the strike zone from various players. Farrell hopes that's not the case.
"The only thing any player has in his control is to respect the game, respect the situation and go out and play to his abilities," the second-year manager said. "There is going to be frustration that rears its head in any game that is played.
"You deal with that frustration in a manner that's professional and respectful -- that's when you begin to earn your reputation."