Turf fails to take blame for Lawrie injuries


* Rogers Centre turf far from perfect, but not 100% to blame for Brett Lawrie’s injuries. ….

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By Bob Elliott

It’s fashionable to knock the turf at the Rogers Centre.

And it may be dead, spot-on, accurate … like Mark Buehrle’s control.

The latest is Brett Lawrie.

“It treats my body kind of silly and throws it off, I want to go out and be healthy … getting off the turf is a big step forward for me,” Lawrie told reporters when discussing leaving artificial turf for the green, green grass of Oakland’s O.Co Coliseum during a conference call.

Along with lefty Sean Nolin, right-hander Kendal Graveman, infield prospect Franklin Barreto, Lawrie was dealt to the A’s for third baseman Josh Donaldson on Friday.

Only Lawrie, who always played with an-ahead full, damn-the-torpedoes approach, knows 100% how difficult the carpet was on his body.

So we decided to put the Rogers Centre turf on trial.

The turf needed help climbing into the witness box, as we took a look at his injuries 1-by-1 to see how many times the turf can be found guilty as charged …

Judge: “Sit up straight Mr. Turf, show some respect for the court.”

Turf: “I can’t … what if I lie straight and try not to hurt your back?

Judge: “Enough … proceed.”

Tuesday, May 31, 2011, Rogers Centre.

Both manager John Farrell — who wants to take Lawrie north from spring training — and general manager Alex Anthopoulos hint strongly that Lawrie will be promoted from triple-A Las Vegas on the weekend when the Jays reach Baltimore.

Tucson right-hander Anthony Bass hits Lawrie in the hand during his first at-bat. Lawrie tweets from the hospital, “pls be bruised,” followed by, “Just a BRuIse !!! #yaaaaabudddddy.” While he didn’t have any fractures he was not healthy enough to be promoted until Aug. 2 at the Rogers Centre when the Jays hosted the Orioles.
Turf verdict: Innocent.

Spring training, 2012.

Lawrie injures his groin near the end of the exhibition schedule.

Turf verdict: Innocent.

July 7, US Cellular Field, Chicago.

Lawrie leaves during the game due to lower back soreness.

Turf verdict: Guilty, as it was the Jays second game in Chicago following a seven-game home stand against the Anaheim Angels and the Kansas City Royals in which Lawrie played 70 of 72 innings.

July 18, 2012 Yankee Stadium
Lawrie tumbles over the railing deep into camera well chasing a Mark Teixeira third-inning pop up with the Jays trailing 4-0. He suffered a contusion on his right calf and a rib injury. He missed one game, played 13 straight — six at home — and misses 31 games before returning Sept. 7.

Turf verdict: Innocent. “You say I’m dangerous, try the Bronx?”

March 7, Goodyear, Az. 2013

Playing for Canada in a World Baseball Classic tune-up against the Cincinnati Reds, Lawrie dives for a ball and strains his left rib cage.

Manager Ernie Whitt says Lawrie told him he was felt something his first at-bat injured diving to his left for a grounder in the first or second inning. Which single? Whitt said it was tough to narrow down as the Reds had 11 hits off starter Mark Hardy and reliever Trystan Magnuson.

Lawrie missed the first 14 games of the season.

Turf verdict: Innocent.

May 27, Rogers Centre.

Lawrie steals second in a 9-3 win over the Atlanta Braves and injures his left ankle. Mark DeRosa pinch runs. This was a day after the Jays entered the bottom of the ninth down by three, cutting the lead to two. Lawrie pops up to medium right with Adam Lind on third. Lawrie retreats to the dugout yelling at third base coach Luis Rivera and Lind for not tagging up and scoring.

Manager John Gibbons told Lawrie “to shut up and sit down — we’re trying to win a game.” Anthony Gose walks, DeRosa knocks in a run with a grounder and Menenori Kawasaki hits a walk-off double.

Lawrie misses 42 games.

Turf verdict: Guilty with an explanation … “did he slide on the dirt cut out? Don’t blame me.”

June 22, 2014 Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati.

Leading off the second Lawrie is hit by Reds starter Johnny Cueto fracturing his right index finger.

He misses 37 games.

Turf Verdict: Innocent.

Aug 5. Rogers Centre.

In his first game back Lawrie singles to right, jams on the breaks, retreats to first and winds up with an oblique strain. It was his final at-bat in a Blue Jays uniform as he misses the final 48 games.

Turf Verdict: Guilty with an explanation … “he injured himself running to first? And you want to blame me?”

Lawrie misses 92 games in 2014.

He arrived Aug. 5, 2011 and of the next 538 games made 311 starts (57.8%).

Maybe the turf is to blame for taking its toll on Lawrie’s body.

Some Lawrie injuries — broken fingers, diving into camera wells — are not to blame on turf.

We hope he avoids all injuries, stays healthy and plays 158 games.

Scott Harrigan
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