Jays manager John Gibbons has hands full with Brett Lawrie

Frank Doyle | Mon. May 27 2013, 02:05 pm

In many ways, Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie is the kind of player every baseball manager wants to have in his lineup. Lawrie’s young and exciting. He’s a five-tool guy that plays the game hard. His potential is through the roof, but the problem is, his antics are might just make John Gibbons go through the roof before long.

With the Jays trailing by two runs in the ninth inning with runners at first and third Sunday against the Orioles, Lawrie flied out to right field. It was probably deep enough to score Adam Lind from third, but third base coach Luis Rivera held the runner knowing the tying run was on first base. So, when Lawrie noticed he hadn’t cashed in his RBI, he said something angrily to J.P. Arencibia at first base, then got into another frustrating exchange with Gibbons in the dugout before Jose Bautista stepped in.

Even though the Jays eventually rallied to win the game, it wasn’t pretty. Lawrie’s latest temper tantrum came just two days after he was ejected for throwing his batting gloves and helmet following a strikeout on Friday.

So is it time for the Jays to step in here? It’s a tricky situation. Part of the reason Lawrie is so successful is because of his intensity. He doesn’t know any other way to play the game. But he needs to get the bigger picture. Gibbons stood his ground Sunday and it’s important Bautista was the guy to finally calm the 23-year-old down.

Lawrie isn’t having a tough start to the season, working on a brutal .199 batting average with five homers and 14 RBIs. He’s pressing and needs the support of his manager and teammates to turn this around. That said, this me-first attitude needs adjusting. Immediately.

The Jays are eight games under .500 and trail the division-leading Yankees by 9.5 games. They need to turn the ship around in a hurry before this season turns into another disappointment. And to do that, they need Lawrie – his bat, his hustle, his passion. For better or worse, he’ll likely be a fiery guy his whole career. It’s on Gibbons, Bautista and the rest of the Jays to keep him in line.

The Blue Jays are back in action Monday night as they host the Atlanta Braves in interleague play. Tim Hudson gets the call for Atlanta against Toronto’s Mark Buehrle. The Braves are set as a -120 favourite at Sports  Interaction.