TORONTO -- The Blue Jays saw the return of their starting third baseman Brett Lawrie on Tuesday against the White Sox. He went 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly in the ninth.
Lawrie's arrival comes just four days after the Blue Jays lost Jose Reyes to a long-term injury, and he is a welcomed addition to the club.
"He's one of the cornerstones of our team," said manager John Gibbons. "We expect him to be a great player here for a lot of years and we've missed him.
"He made some great plays over there at third base. Tremendous range, good arm. Good to see him out there.
Last season, the 23-year-old had 11 home runs, 48 RBIs, scored 73 runs and hit .273 in 125 games.
Lawrie spent the last few days with Class A Dunedin, getting into some games for the first time since suffering his left oblique injury in early March.
Tuesday's debut was nearly seven weeks since Lawrie suffered the injury just prior to the World Baseball Classic, and it lingered a lot longer than anyone thought it would.
"I didn't really think it was going to take that long, but that's the thing, you can never put a timetable on that kind of injury," Lawrie said. "You just kind of have to go about it yourself … and unfortunately for myself, it took a few more days then expected, but I'm here."
His return to the Toronto lineup is good news, not only for his offense but also his glove work. The Blue Jays had a series of defensive miscues at third during his absence with Maicer Izturis and Mark DeRosa struggling to cover ground in the field.
"He's one of the better guys in the league [defensively]," Gibbons said. "I think everybody thinks that he's got a shot of a winning a Gold Glove one of these days. He's one of those guys that can take away hits."
Even with all the excitement of his return, Lawrie isn't coming into the game hoping to set the world on fire, but rather take things as they come.
"Not trying to do too much out there, just trying to help the team, be calm and have fun," Lawrie said. "I just want to help the boys out and put a smile on everyone's face."
Bautista held out another day with back spasms
TORONTO -- Jose Bautista was out of the lineup for a second straight game on Tuesday with back spasms.
The Toronto slugger continues to be ailed by minor injuries early in the season and has now missed five games this season while appearing in only nine.
However, the Blue Jays insist the injury is minor.
"The [doctors] don't think it's that big of a deal," manager John Gibbons said. "I don't want to sound like a broken record because we said that about his ankle, [but we want to] knock it out so it doesn't become an issue."
Bautista missed a three-game homestand against Boston earlier in the year with a sprained right ankle -- an injury the team had also hoped would only make the 32-year-old miss one game.
But, as has been the protocol early in the season, general manager Alex Anthopoulos and his coaching staff continually take the most conservative route when it comes to dealing with minor ailments.
"You never know with backs but [the doctors are] not very worried," Gibbons said. "And until you get on the turf, that can aggravate it a little more, so maybe an extra day more would be a little better."
The good news for the Blue Jays is that Gibbons said before first pitch that Bautista should be available to pinch-hit if the club needs him, and could return to the lineup on Wednesday.
Jays Care Foundation to be celebrated Wednesday
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays will celebrate the charitable achievements of the Jays Care Foundation for its efforts in 2012 on Wednesday.
Last year the Jays Care Foundation invested more than $1.9 million in Canadian communities, impacting more than 23,000 children and youth across Canada.
To commemorate this achievement, the Jays 2012 community partners will be honoured during Grants Night in the Jays Care Community Clubhouse at Rogers Centre on Wednesday when the Blue Jays host the White Sox.
Allan Fabrykant, Youth Assisting Youth mentee, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game, and a $1.9 million cheque will be present to Jays Care's 2012 community partners.
Jays Care Foundation Executive Director Rob Drynan, and members of the Jays Care Board of Directors will be on hand for the cheque presentation, photo opportunities, and to field questions for Jays Care's partnerships.
• Jeremy Jeffress was outrighted to the Minor Leagues after clearing waivers on Tuesday.
The hard-throwing right-hander was designated for assignment on April 6, but the Blue Jays were unable to make a deal for Jeffress over the last 10 days, allowing for his move to the Minor Leagues.
It was not yet known which Minor League club the 25-year-old would be sent to, but a decision will be made in the near future.
Jeffress pitched only one inning with the Blue Jays this season, allowing one hit and a walk while also recording a strikeout.
Evan Peaslee is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.