Lawrie returns to lineup after suspension

Lawrie returns to lineup after suspension

Lawrie returns to lineup after suspension
ST. PETERSBURG -- Brett Lawrie made his return to the Blue Jays lineup on Monday night following a four-game suspension for his dispute with home-plate umpire Bill Miller.

Lawrie, who initially appealed the four-game ban, had been out of action since last appearing in Wednesday's game against the Yankees. He was forced to watch his team last week from a suite, which was easier said than done for the energetic second-year third baseman.

"It was annoying," said Lawrie, who entered play on Monday hitting .281 with three homers and 17 RBIs. "It's a different perspective on the game, and I didn't like it that much. I want to be playing this game until I die. That's what this experience has meant to me. I'm happy to be back."

Lawrie received the suspension after arguing a pair of strikes and then slamming his helmet into the ground in the vicinity of Miller. Lawrie maintained all along that he never had any intention of hitting the umpire with his helmet and just because there was inadvertent contact doesn't mean he's going to alter his aggressive approach on the field.

"It hasn't changed me at all," Lawrie said. "I'm still the same player. I'm still going to have the same fire. In the heat of the battle, I'm still going to be the same guy. I'm not any different. At the same time, the only thing I have to learn is not to throw a helmet toward an umpire. That's what I learned."

Lawrie's return to the lineup meant utility man Yan Gomes has been relegated to the bench for at least one game. That could change in the coming days as manager John Farrell looks to find ways to get the rookie into his lineup.

Gomes made his debut on Thursday and proceeded to go 4-for-10 with a homer and three RBIs in four games. He has the ability to play behind the plate, at first and third base, which could make him a valuable contributor off the bench -- especially during Interleague Play.

"The versatility is going to come into play for sure," Farrell said. "We feel like he's capable of going over to first base if the need be and his versatility allows us on a night like tonight to DH J.P. [Arencibia] with no hesitation because if something unforeseen were to happen to Jeff [Mathis] we would insert Yan immediately.

"He's going to get his at-bats by moving through those three, possibly four positions including the DH."