Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie suffered an injury to his ribs in a spring training game and has been out of action for weeks.
UPDATE: Monday, March 25, at 9:35 a.m. ET by Brandon Galvin
Disappointing news for Blue Jays fans and fantasy players as Brett Lawrie (ribs) is expected to open the season on the disabled list, according to Sportsnet's Shi Davidi:
Shi Davidi @ShiDavidi
Brett Lawrie to open season on DL. #Bluejays likely to go with 8-man pen out of gate3/25/2013, 1:21:54 PM
---End of update---
Gregor Chisholm @gregorMLB
#BlueJays PR is now saying it's a rib injury for Lawrie -- not an oblique injury as previously announced by the club.3/7/2013, 6:47:39 PM
The promising 23-year-old was scheduled to play for Team Canada during the World Baseball Classic, but has now been ruled out due to this unfortunate injury, according to Sportsnet's Shi Davidi:
Shi Davidi @ShiDavidi
Brett Lawrie withdraws from Canadian team at #WBC with mild strain: http://t.co/MXkAHOjTaI #BlueJays3/7/2013, 7:07:29 PM
The injury was initially reported as an oblique injury, as Chisholm indicates, but Davidi's tweet and piece confirm that Lawrie has a mild strain to his ribs.
Just this past weekend, the outspoken Lawrie was making headlines criticizing Blue Jays teammate and compatriot Russell Martin for not participating in the WBC. Now Lawrie himself will not be able to represent his country in the event.
Lawrie had a stellar year in 2012—his first experience as an everyday starter in the major leagues. He posted an average of .273 with 11 home runs, 26 doubles and 48 RBI to go along with 13 stolen bases. What made him a surefire staple in the lineup, though, was his impressive fielding ability.
However, he did show some fiery antics and made his fair share of youthful mistakes as he declined at the plate in the second half of the season.
That was particularly true when Lawrie slammed his helmet down in a 4-3 loss against the American League East rival Tampa Bay Rays. Lawrie's helmet made contact with umpire Bill Miller, resulting in an ejection, a subsequent four-game suspension and a fine.
To be fair, Lawrie's decline was partially due to a trip to the DL for a strained oblique in August after missing several games.
Clearly, playing in the WBC meant a great deal to Lawrie, but otherwise, there is no need for him to rush back from this injury—especially since it is the same one that plagued him last year.
The Blue Jays are looking for a big season thanks to a revamped pitching staff and maintenance of key core players. Having Lawrie healthy in time for Opening Day will be of optimum importance.