Energized Lawrie stepping in right direction

White Sox 2B ditches orthotics after injury-plagued season

Energized Lawrie stepping in right direction

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Brett Lawrie was upbeat and full of life when he met the media Saturday, the day White Sox position players officially joined pitchers for Spring Training at Camelback Ranch.

That demeanor shouldn't come as a surprise from the high-energy second baseman, who hit .248 with 12 homers and 22 doubles in 94 games during his White Sox debut in 2016. That energy dissipated around July 21, when he left a game against the Tigers due to what was diagnosed as a tight left hamstring.

His injury worked its way around the knee and even the hip, as the 27-year-old went through a five-game injury rehab assignment with Double-A Birmingham but never returned to the big leagues. It wasn't until October when Lawrie realized it was the orthotics in his shoes that were the root cause of the problem.

Lawrie's solo homer to left

"I was put into orthotics for the first time in 26 years, and it definitely threw me through a loop," Lawrie said. "It was the worst time of my life to be honest with you.

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"Unfortunately, when you build stability for a long time you need to stay with that. I'm just trying to do what I do as a ballplayer, and I don't really know the ins and outs of that stuff. We're moving forward, and I'm looking forward to helping the boys."

Lawrie felt instability in his back in the offseason prior to 2016, and working out didn't improve the problem. He was looking for a way to stabilize while standing, helping him avoid the "little knickknack things" as a player.

"But I get up off the floor and next thing I know my whole life flipped upside down," Lawrie said. "So it took me from my flat feet and pushed me to everything lateral, and that's not how I move.

"I'm supposed to use my calves and legs and if it puts me on the outside, it stretches the Achilles, all the way up the chain to [where] things aren't working how they are supposed to. When stuff starts to stretch it puts stress on areas it's not supposed to. Then you compensate, and once that happens, you're waiting for the bomb to go off. You get off the floor one time and the bomb goes off."

Lawrie used a lot of deep tissue and acupuncture to get things back in alignment. He intends to be the same high-energy guy once the process is complete after a rough stretch leading to Lawrie's orthotics discovery.

"Nobody could figure out what was wrong with me," he said. "It's not anyone's fault. It's one of those things that everyone is trying to find the X on the map to try to find the treasure, and it's been so tough that I guess it's over time …

"It was kind of just frustrating. I'm trying to put myself in the best position, and I went the opposite way as soon as I put them in my shoes. You don't know why you're not getting better, and all of a sudden you don't know what you're doing, so you cut sugar out of your diet because my body's not reacting the way you want it to.

"I'm like, 'What's going on with me?'" Lawrie said. "I took them out of my shoes, and I've felt better since. But the position they put me in, it's been tough, but we're getting there."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.