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Lawrie plays in extended spring game

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DETROIT -- Brett Lawrie is one step closer to making his return after the third baseman made his first appearance in an extended Spring Training game on Thursday afternoon.

Lawrie played four innings at third and went 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles and a walk. It was an encouraging sign for the 23-year-old, who hadn't appeared in a game for more than a month because of a strained left oblique muscle.

Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said earlier this week that Lawrie would need at least 20 at-bats in the Minors before making a return. One pitcher in attendance might not agree with the timeline, but Lawrie would appear to still be a week away from returning.

"[Lawrie] looked real good at the plate today," Blue Jays prospect Marcus Stroman wrote on Twitter. "He's most definitely ready to rock."

Lawrie suffered the injury playing in an exhibition game for Team Canada prior to the World Baseball Classic. He likely needs more at-bats than normal in the Minors because of his extended absence, and in some ways he has to start the spring from scratch.

The native of Langley, British Columbia, hit .273 with 11 homers and 48 RBIs in 125 games last year.

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.

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