KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Toronto third baseman Brett Lawrie is off to a solid spring start.
His manager disagrees."He's off to a good start in his career, whether it was with the Brewers or here,"John Farrell said Friday after the Blue Jays beat the Houston Astros 11-2 Friday. "He's a heck of a player."The 22-year-old Lawrie, who came to Toronto 15 months ago from Milwaukee in the trade for pitcher Shaun Marcum, hit .293 in a 43-game taste of the major leagues last summer. He is 8 for 16 with four doubles this spring.Lawrie drove in his sixth and seventh runs in just six games as the Blue Jays jumped on Houston starter J.A. Happ in the first inning. But his best play might have been tagging up and advancing to second base on a flyball, which enabled him to score on David Cooper's two-out single."He's got very good instincts inside the game," Farrell said. "He's a confident player and he makes very good decisions."Cooper drove in three runs with a single and a double while Lawrie, Edwin Encarnacion and Travis d'Arnaud drove in two runs each for the Blue Jays. d'Arnaud and Adeiny Hechavarria homered in a five-run inning off Aneury Rodriguez.The Blue Jays had five of their 15 hits off Happ, who didn't get through the third inning. The Astros left-hander said he was "overthrowing" his breaking pitches in his second spring start."I really think if I back off a few percent it might help me, but that's also hard to do when you're trying to get results,' Happ said. "Finding a happy medium is hopefully where it'll be at. I'll get it figured it out."Henderson Alvarez, bidding for a spot in Toronto's rotation, pitched two innings, giving up a run on one hit while striking out three.Jason Castro and Jose Altuve drove in runs for the Astros, who had six hits.
The Astros announced that they will wear replicas of their original Colt .45s jerseysfor their home games of April 10 and April 20. The Jerseys have Colts written across the chest with a revolver underneath it. ... The Astros had Jordan Schafer and Jason Bourgeois, their two fastest players, at the top of the batting order. "It gives the whole lineup a different look, whichI think is important," said manager Brad Mills. ... Toronto reliever Luis Perez, who worked two innings Friday, has faced 20 batters in three outings, giving up a walk, a hit batsman and a single while striking out six. ... Alvarez has "an inside track on one of the spots in our rotation," Farrell said. Dustin McGowan, another candidate, will get his first start Saturday against the Astros in Dunedin.