To watch Brett Lawrie bop around the clubhouse here at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium he gives the impression he's already on his fifth cup of heavily caffeinated coffee.
There's a big embrace of pitcher Ricky Romero, a hearty hello for Brandon Morrow before darting back to his locker to prepare for the day's activities.
It is only eight o'clock in the morning and the effervescent Lawrie is already on the top of his game.
“Everything's good,” the 22-year-old said Tuesday morning after practically crushing a reporter's hand with a vise-like handshake. “I'm right where I want to be right now. It's just about playing the game and just going out there and having fun and playing with these guys.”
Unlike last season, where he arrived at Blue Jays spring training knowing that a starting spot in the lineup was a long shot at best, Lawrie enters camp this season with no such uncertainty.
He will be Toronto's starting third baseman come the start of the season.
The job security is an obvious relief, but Lawrie insists he is taking nothing for granted.
“It's obviously a plus but at the same time I still have the same mindset to go out there and work hard,” he said. “I have the same mindset as I did last spring training, to come in here and kind of make my mark and just go out and play hard and whatever happens, happens. So I'm just going to stick through that and just go play.”
Lawrie was a bit of a local sensation for the Blue Jays last season.
The Langely, B.C., native enjoyed a solid spring camp last year but was still sent back to Triple A to hone his craft.
At Las Vegas, Lawrie tore up the competition and the Blue Jays were planning on promoting him to the big club when he broke a bone in his hand after he got hit by a pitch on May 31st.
That delayed his promotion until Aug. 4th and when it happened Lawrie made the most of it.
Installed at third base, the brawny athlete hit a home run in his second game and his exuberant defensive play soon earned him a legion of fans.
Lawrie would finish the season batting .293 with nine home runs and 25 RBIs in just 46 games.
Lawrie said he is raring to get going this season and is excited by off-season moves by general manager Alex Anthopoulos that bolstered the bullpen.
He believes that the Blue Jays have a good shot at making some noise in the American League East this seasons.
“For sure, we've always had a chance,” he said. “It's just about us doing it. I think this year is going to be a big year. We're a young team, got a lot of fire and we'll see what happens.”Report Typo/Error
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