BALTIMORE -- Fan favorite Munenori Kawasaki was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo on Saturday to make room for Brett Lawrie's activation from the disabled list.
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said it wasn't an easy decision.
"Just like last time, tough to send him down. He had options," Gibbons said, explaining the rationale of the move. "Like I said last time, he'll be back sometime. He was gone two days last time, so you never know. But he did a tremendous job for us last time, he really did. It's a big loss."
Lawrie will play second base for the Blue Jays, and they'll continue to carry just a three-man bench to allow for an eight-man bullpen, so Kawasaki became expendable. In 216 plate appearances, Kawasaki has hit .213/.319./298 with 20 RBIs and seven stolen bases in eight attempts.
Kawasaki joked to a reporter that he may play outfield in the Minors to increase his versatility and his value to the team.
"We didn't say anything about that, but it wouldn't surprise me," Gibbons said with a smirk. "He plays to win. He loves the game of baseball."
Lawrie returns from DL, starts at second base
BALTIMORE -- Brett Lawrie was activated from the 15-day disabled list on Saturday and started at second base and hit eighth in the lineup against the Orioles. Munenori Kawasaki was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo to make room for Lawrie.
"I'm not a savior, I'm not anything like that. I'm just trying to have some fun, try and help these guys win a ballgame or two as much as I can," Lawrie said.
Lawrie has been out since he sprained his ankle in a game against the Braves on May 27, and at the time of the injury, it seemed he would make a quick return.
But nearly six weeks later, he is ready to rejoin the Blue Jays lineup, and manager John Gibbons said he hopes the 23-year old will provide a spark.
"Maybe he'll give us a shot in the arm," Gibbons said. "Right now, we're sitting in the cellar. If he struggles out there, we can't go any further down than where we are in the standings right now. But if he gives us a shot in the arm, who knows? Maybe he's the key to getting us going again."
Formerly a third baseman, Lawrie played second base during his rehab assignment to prepare for a potential shift. Gibbons said Lawrie played second previously in his career, so the fact he only had eight rehab games isn't a concern.
"If we didn't feel good about it, we wouldn't play him there," Gibbons said. "And it's a chance to take a look at it and see what happens. If it doesn't work, we can always shift him back."
"He's such a talented player, great hands, great feet, his reactions are always right on. So I think he's got a chance to be a really good one out there. We'll find out. He hasn't had a ton of reps, but some of our guys that have seen him play down there, some of our scouts, said he looked great."
Lawrie said he feels his swing is progressing and he's up for the challenge at second base. He went 2-for-12 for Buffalo with seven strikeouts, a home run and a walk.
"It's definitely on the way back," Lawrie said of his swing, "Every game I saw the ball a little bit better down there. I feel like I'm definitely on the mend."
Lawrie finished Saturday's 7-3 win 0-for-4 at the plate.
Derek Wetmore is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.