Brett Lawrie wasn’t thrilled about playing second base last night

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Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to start Juan Francisco at third base in last night’s interleague matchup against the Pirates while moving Brett Lawrie over to second base. It’s not an ideal alignment from a defensive perspective, but he’s trying to keep Francisco’s bat in the lineup with the designated hitter unavailable.

While Gibbons’ reasoning is understandable, Lawrie didn’t sound thrilled about the temporary position switch when talking with John Lott of the National Post:

“I’m a third baseman,” he said. “I’m not a third base/second base type of guy. I’m a third baseman and that’s my position.

“I’m not necessarily going over thinking I’m going to be Chase Utley tonight. I’m going to try to make the routine play and try to roll a double play if we can. It’s for the team and if we can get an extra bat in there and it gives us a chance to win, then that’s what it has to be.”

Of course, Lawrie originally began his pro career as a second baseman in the Brewers minor league system before making the move over to the hot corner. He played six games at second base last season after the Blue Jays were hit hard with injuries.

The Pirates will send left-hander Francisco Liriano to the hill later today, so Francisco should sit while Lawrie will be back at third base. However, we’ll likely see Lawrie at second base again on Sunday with right-hander Edinson Volquez slated to pitch in the series finale.

Report: MLB likely to unilaterally implement pace of play changes

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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that talks between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players’ Association concerning pace of play changes have stalled, which makes it more likely that commissioner Rob Manfred unilaterally implements the changes he seeks. Those changes include a pitch clock and a restriction on catcher mound visits.

Manfred said, “My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players. But if we can’t get an agreement, we are going to have rule changes in 2018, one way or the other.”

The players have made several suggestions aimed at reducing the length of games, such as amending replay review rules, strictly monitoring down time between innings, and bringing back bullpen carts.

It is believed that MLB is proposing a pitch clock of 20 seconds. If a pitcher takes too long between pitches, he will have a ball added to the count. If the hitter takes too long, then he will have a strike added to the count.