Blue Jays fans shouldn't expect to see third-base prospect Brett Lawrie in a Toronto uniform until at least early August.
That was the word from general manager Alex Anthopoulos during the club's off-day Thursday ahead of a weekend interleague series at St. Louis.
Lawrie is in Dunedin, Fla., working out but can't grip a bat without pain. Three weeks ago, the Langley, B.C. native was hit by a pitch in a AAA game and suffered a non-displaced fracture to a bone in the back of his left hand.
Lawrie isn't expected to play a minor league game until early August. He would need a couple of weeks of game action before being available to play for the Blue Jays.
It appeared Lawrie was days away from a big-league promotion at the time of his injury. In 52 games with Las Vegas he is hitting .354 with 15 homers and 49 runs batted in.
Lawrie's setback prompted the Blue Jays to shift right-fielder Jose Bautista back to third base, effective immediately. Prospect Eric Thames was summoned from Las Vegas to play the outfield.
Bautista is hitting .325 with 22 home runs this season.
Third base has been a black hole for Toronto offensively this season. Edwin Encarnacion, Jayson Nix, Mike McCoy and John McDonald have combined for a .176 average, five homers and 26 RBIs.