Lineup changes put Lawrie at the top

Lineup changes put Lawrie at the top

Lineup changes put Lawrie at the top
CHICAGO -- Blue Jays manager John Farrell unveiled a dramatically different lineup for Tuesday's series opener against the White Sox.

With cleanup hitter Edwin Encarnacion currently day to day with a right-hand injury, Farrell opted for wholesale changes to his batting order.

Kelly Johnson and Yunel Escobar were dropped from the top two spots to No. 4 and No. 5 in the order, while third baseman Brett Lawrie was inserted into the leadoff position for the first time in his professional career.

"Depends on what kind of hitter you are," Lawrie said when asked if he had to make an adjustment because of the change. "I'm not built as a leadoff hitter, I'm built as a 3-4-5 hitter, I think that's where I'm built and I'm going to continue to do that.

"I don't feel I have to change much, I'm not going to let pitches go by just for the sake of letting them go by. I've got to hit fastballs and continue what I've been doing."

The lineup changes have less to do with getting Lawrie, who went 3-for-5 in the Blue Jays' 9-5 victory, into the top spot than they are about getting Johnson and Escobar into positions where they have the ability to drive in more runs.

With Encarnacion out of the lineup, the Blue Jays are severely lacking run producers to insert behind No. 3 hitter Jose Bautista. Johnson's nine home runs and Escobar's ability to make contact help address that concern, according to Farrell.

"Yunel's ability to put the ball in play and really is not susceptible to strikeouts," Farrell said. "I think this gives him a chance to get into those RBI situations. Against a left-hander we'll probably take a different look than today's lineup, but Yunel has the ability to be an RBI type of guy because he's a high contact hitter and hopefully we create some opportunities for him to do just that."