The Blue Jays are off to a disappointing 3-6 start, but they should get a boost in their lineup soon.
According to Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com, Brett Lawrie went 2-for-2 with two doubles and a walk today in an extended spring training game. It was his first game action since he suffered a left oblique strain in early March.
Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said earlier this week that Lawrie will need at least 20 at-bats in the minors before being activated, so he’ll likely need to get a few more games under his belt. He could return as soon as next weekend against the Yankees if all goes well.
Lawrie, 23, batted .273/.324/.405 with 11 home runs, 48 RBI, 13 stolen bases and a .729 OPS in 125 games last season. Mark DeRosa and Maicer Izturis have been splitting time at third base during his absence.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros and outfielder Michael Brantley are closing in on an agreement for a two-year contract in the $32 million range.
Brantley, 31, played a mostly full season last year for the first time since 2015. He hit .309/.364/.468 with 17 home runs, 76 RBI, 89 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases in 631 plate appearances. He made the AL All-Star squad for the third time in his career.
Brantley’s health, though, is why he had to settle for a two-year deal as opposed to a longer contract for a player of his caliber. He will take over in left field. In the event Brantley succumbs to injury woes, the Astros have top prospect Kyle Tucker waiting in the wings.
Update: According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, who also reports that the deal is in place, the Astros plan to rotate Brantley between left field, first base, and DH. That opens up some more playing time for Tucker.