GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Give him a task, and Brett Lawrie will tackle it with the enthusiasm of a linebacker hopped up on Five Hour Energy in pursuit of a quarterback.
Lawrie’s mission this spring is to reacquaint himself with second base, a position he played almost exclusively until he reached the majors in 2012.
Whether it’s the White Sox, scouts, or the player himself, few have doubts Lawrie can make the transition from third base back to second. Lawrie believes it’s merely a matter of quality repetitions and he has already set his mind on the task.
“Do it every day,” Lawrie said. “If I do it everyday, then it just becomes what I do. That’s kind of how I work.
“(Third base) was just a new task for me, a new task that ultimately said that I’ve got to go out and get good at this and that’s all I was worried about. I got to do it every single day. Now, the goal is to go out and play second base. I’m only worried about second base. I don’t have to worry about anything else.”
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Sounds like the White Sox don’t have much to worry about, either. Not only do they believe Lawrie, who’s known for his high energy, can make a seamless transition, outsiders do, too. Though they haven’t yet seen much of him in the field, two major league scouts said Lawrie has more than enough ability to pull it off.
Lawrie primarily played second base in the minors until the Milwaukee Brewers traded him to the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011. He played 250 games at second and 82 at third before he reached the majors.
Since then, Lawrie has appeared at second base 80 times (mostly last season with the Oakland A’s) and at third on 441 occasions.
Knowing they also were close to adding Todd Frazier when they acquired Lawrie in December, the White Sox suggested they may want him to play second base. General manager Rick Hahn said Lawrie has been open to the concept since their first conversation.
“Brett aggressively attacks any task head on and playing second base regularly has been no exception,” Hahn said. “From the time of our first conversation after the trade was completed, Brett has embraced the possibility of playing second. Given his athleticism and work ethic, we expect him to settle into the role nicely.”
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Lawrie has already made a few nice plays early in limited spring action, including a nicely turned double play with Tyler Saladino in the opening game — “the ball will find you,” Lawrie said.
Saladino has been impressed by how Lawrie has operated to familiarize himself once again with his old position, not only the all-out effort, but the technique, too.
“He’s a guy that you know what to expect,” Saladino said. “He’s going to work and he takes everything serious. When he’s out there working, he’s a fundamental guy. He likes to stay low (to the ground) and that’s important in the infield. He takes all that stuff with the passion to do it all right. When it comes to that ground ball and defensive work, he does it right. Then it becomes a matter of instinct.”
Lawrie is all about quality work. He’s a firm believer that if he does something the right way 15 times, it’s better than taking 50 ground balls without the proper form.
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There’s no doubt in his mind that Lawrie can make this switch again. And he knows exactly how he needs to make it happen.
“Every day, it’s all about the reps,” Lawrie said. “Just going out there, and the quality over the quantity. I’m not going to take 100 ground balls. It’s not about that. It’s about taking the right procedures, the right foot work and doing things right and quality over the quantity.
“It’s definitely about the quality over the quantity and refining that.”