A funny thing happened to Brett Lawrie on his way to the White Sox. He started to draw more walks.
Lawrie said Thursday that his walk rate of 14 percent (he walked for the 17th time in his first plate appearance in Thursday’s game against the Boston Red Sox, 11 shy of his total of 28 over 602 plate appearances for the Oakland A’s last season) stems not only from a growing knowledge of pitchers now that he has five seasons under his belt at age 26, but from the selfless, “No I’s” mindset that has grabbed hold of the Sox through their fast start.
“It’s paying attention to the situation at hand, being ready to hit for the situation, stepping in the box for the team and not for anything personally,’’ Lawrie said. “Guy at second, none out, get him over. Attack the situation and know if I can’t get it done the next guy will.’’
The highest-octane guy in the clubhouse, Lawrie said he wasn’t aware he had played every inning at second base. He said he doesn’t need a rest.
“No. I feel good,’’ he said. “If I continue doing my treatments and doing the necessary things to make me feel good I’ll be all right.’’
Low key manager Robin Ventura, as far away on the opposite end of Lawrie’s ‘3-2-1 blastoff’ makeup, joked that he wouldn’t want Lawrie bouncing around on the bench next to him, anyway. But he loves what Lawrie delivers.
“It’s hard to find guys that bring it like he does every day,’’ Ventura said. “We’ve got quite a few guys that do it, but to his level of taking care of himself, taking care of his teammates, bringing that kind of energy is unique.’’
Lawrie’s walk in the first gave him six in his last four games.“His eyes must be getting better or something,” Ventura said. “When you look at guys like him, there are things they can improve on, and every team they’re on it becomes a little bit different, so this is new territory for him, and I don’t think he’s afraid of it. He’s embracing it, and you just let him go with it.”
Lawrie owned a .455 on-base percentage (with 13 walks) over his previous 13 games and was batting .281 with a .389 on-base percentage and .490 slugging percentage before Thursday. He homered in a career-high three straight games in Baltimore last week and has four this season to go with 10 RBI.