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East All Star Dwyane Wade (R) of the Miami Heat suffered a sprained ankle in Sunday's NBA All-Star game but says the injury won't keep him out of action. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (LUCY NICHOLSON)
East All Star Dwyane Wade (R) of the Miami Heat suffered a sprained ankle in Sunday's NBA All-Star game but says the injury won't keep him out of action. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (LUCY NICHOLSON)

Seven in the morning

Ground zero for headshots; Heat drama and Frazier's hate for Ali Add to ...

It's only been 15 at bats and a few weeks of Spring Training, but the cocky kid from BC is making a case for himself to be with the big team on opening day, backing up his own talk with action; nice piece by John Lott here: The strapping 21-year-old from Langley, B.C., really does think he is ready to play in the big leagues. He said so, loud and proud, after coming to the Toronto Blue Jays in a December trade.These days, he is making his case without saying a word. Over the weekend he hit a three-run homer, a double and two singles and made a couple of nifty plays at third base in exhibition games.

"Everything that he needs to do, he's doing it," manager John Farrell said.

Which does not mean Lawrie has earned a roster spot after 15 at-bats in six spring games. But he has given Jays fans a stirring preview of the long-running show they can expect in the near future. By the time he arrived at spring training, Lawrie had toned down the bombast, filling his interviews with justglad-to-be-here clichés. He sounded almost humble at times.

[But]Try as he might, Lawrie does not do humble well. Press him just a tad on the subject of his December ego rant and he comes clean, calmly answering the blowback from critics who waxed indignant about the audacity of a kid who has spent a mere two years in professional baseball.

"No regrets," he said. "I still feel like I'm ready for the big leagues. As I move forward as a person and a baseball player, I know there's always some things to learn. But as far as the big leagues go, I think I'm ready."

7. This has nothing, really, to do with sports; but if you like drinking, read on:

The Toronto Raptors have another day off after their two-loss trip to London, leaving long-time Toronto Star beat writer Doug Smith with a hole in his notebook. He makes up for it with high praise for a pub -- and he's been to a few -- he discovered back 'ome:




Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese.

In an alley off Fleet Street - yes, that Fleet Street - built in 1667, a hang out of Charles Dickens, Alfred Tennyson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and if that doesn't get my writing mojo going, I don't know what will.

Anyway, it was a must-see spot, it's like a rabbit warren of tiny rooms and small staircases and it just oozes old and something memorable.

Forget that it sells the beer that tops my list - Samuel Smith's Organic Lager and a new No. 2 in Samuel Smith's Pure Brewed Lager - it's the atmosphere and the people who make it.

I'm standing there by myself, soaking up the ambiance and talking to the bartender when a fine gentleman approaches the bar, orders for himself and his three cronies and looks over at me and says, "let me get you a pint, young man."

Of course.

And that's how I ended up being invited to the table to celebrate Derek's 75th birthday with him and John and Roger and Steve and our two new German friends Michaela and Jochan.

The stories are flowing, at one point John starts reciting "If" by Kipling, the old lads break out in song every now and then for no other reason than they wanted to and it turned into one of the great pub days of a life.

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