Unfortunate news this evening out of Toronto.
According to John Lott of Canada’s National Post, Blue Jays rookie third baseman Brett Lawrie suffered a broken right middle finger Wednesday while taking pregame infield practice and has been shut down for the remainder of the 2011 season.
There are only a handful of games left on the Blue Jays’ regular season schedule, but Lawrie is one of the most talented and exciting young players in baseball and it’s a shame that his impressive first-year campaign must come to a premature close.
A 21-year-old native of British Columbia, Lawrie exploded onto the major league scene this year by posting a .293/.373/.580 batting line over his first 43 MLB games. He also slugged nine home runs and tallied 25 RBI in only 171 plate appearances. The kid has All-Star upside and a flair for the dramatic.
Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.
The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.
The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.