Lawrie displays his defensive talents vs. KC

Lawrie displays his defensive talents vs. KC

Lawrie displays his defensive talents vs. KC

TORONTO -- During Friday night's 3-2 victory over the Royals, Brett Lawrie continued to show that he's one of the best defensive third basemen in the league.

On a high chopper off the bat of designated hitter Billy Butler, Lawrie leaped up to barehand the ball and threw a strike to first while in the air to get Butler by a step.

It was just another of a series of fine plays that the young Canadian has had over the last few weeks as Lawrie continues to cement himself as one of the best at the hot corner.

"He's so quick. He has great feet, he's very athletic," manager John Gibbons said. "He's got the arm to throw from any angle, off-balance, things like that. He has tremendous range. That's one area where the intensity really benefits him."

Friday's play was just one of what Gibbons referred to as a "highlight show" that Lawrie's been putting on since returning from the disabled list just before the All-Star break.

While Lawrie's bat has also come around, hitting .318 since the Midsummer Classic, it's also been part of a process that has seen the typically overly energetic 23-year-old calm down some.

At times, Lawrie's rambunctious energy seemed to inhibit him on both sides of the diamond, however, since returning from an ankle sprain on July 13 there's been a noticeable difference in how he expends his energy that's benefited him in all aspects of the game.

"I've seen his whole game be knocked down a notch," Gibbons said. "He's got that fast twitch that helps him too, on those quick plays where he's got to dive and you got to get up and make a play that benefits him. A lot of guys can't do that. A lot of guys can get to those balls, they dive and everything, but they can't get up and make that throw. He's got the arm and that quickness to get off his feet."

Evan Peaslee is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.