Lawrie vows to return after leg injury heals

 Langley, B.C., native Brett Lawrie has not played in the major leagues since 2016 due to a lingering leg injury.

Langley, B.C., native Brett Lawrie has not played in the major leagues since 2016 due to a lingering leg injury.

By Andrew Hendriks

Canadian Baseball Network

Nearly a year after being released by the Chicago White Sox, Brett Lawrie says he will play professional baseball again.

But before he can begin his on-field journey back the Show, the 28-year-old former first-rounder needs to get healthy.

"It's hard to communicate with people and let them know what's going on," explained the Langley B.C native on TSN 1040's Sekeras & Price show on Wednesday. "This isn't one of those things where you wake up tomorrow, and you feel significantly better. If it was that way, I'd be playing right now."

When asked to articulate the state of his injury, Lawrie offered an interesting analogy.

"If you were to take a link of chain and twist the top and twist the bottom, it's not sitting straight. You can kind of call my leg doing that," he explained. "Pretty much everything is not acting like it's supposed to."

Like most professional athletes, Lawrie is entirely in tune with his body and knows when something feels off. It's for that reason alone that he's opted to remain off the diamond in an effort to regain some of the physical comfort and explosiveness he's lost since first sustaining what turned out to be a puzzling leg injury in 2016.

"When I go into activity, I'm not feeling the activity to be explosive and to feel powerful in the areas that I need to feel powerful and explosive. I'm feeling compensation in areas that shouldn't be making me feel powerful," added Lawrie. "I can go outside and fool you, but there's only one guy that I can't fool, and that's me."

After experiencing back instability during his offseason workouts in 2016, Lawrie began looking for ways to offset the issue. At that point, he started using orthotics -- a decision that, in hindsight, he regrets. 

“I was put into orthotics for the first time in 26 years, and it definitely threw me through a loop,” Lawrie said in a 2017 interview with the Chicago Sun Times. “They took me from my flat feet and pushed me to everything lateral, and that’s not how I move. I’m supposed to use my calves and legs, and if it puts me on the outside, it stretches the Achilles, all the way up the chain, so things aren’t working how they are supposed to."

Taking just one at-bat in a July 21 tilt vs. the Detroit Tigers, Lawrie was removed with what the club had initially called a left hamstring strain. It was later revealed that he was also suffering from both knee and hip issues.

After discovering that the source of his leg issues centered around the orthotics, Lawire used acupuncture and deep-tissue massage to get himself back into shape ahead of spring training in 2017. When he arrived at camp, the condition flared up again resulting in a self-imposed shutdown prior to his release on March 2.

Lawrie says he doesn't blame anyone for the way everything went down. After all, he was the one who put the orthotics in his shoes. Still, he thinks that the issue would have been avoided if the White Sox had done their homework before allowing him to make that adjustment.

"I don't think the right minds were behind this," he added.

With a career batting average of .261 supported by 196 extra-base hits across 588 major league contests, Lawrie cites overall health issues for the derailment of his MLB career, not ability.

"I didn't get released because I'm a bad baseball player," he said on Wednesday. "I got released because I had an injury that (the White Sox) staff had no clue how to fix, and they were tired of dealing with it because it was just lingering."

Looking to put his injury woes in the rear view, Lawrie has started working with a new group of specialists and says that the results are starting to show.

"I need to be athletic again, I need to be the best athlete that I can be because baseball will be there," he said. "But I was an athlete before I played baseball, so as long as I continue moving forward and am feeling good about what I'm doing, then we're going to be in a great place."

- Follow Andrew Hendriks on Twitter (@77hendriks)

Andrew Hendriks

Born in southern Ontario during the late 1980's, Hendriks had a front row seat to watch the Blue Jays reach the pinnacle in '92/'93 as a child, an experience that only bolstered this Canadian's love for the "American Game." Having played since before his memory allows access too, his passion for Baseball grew over years of emulating his heroes on the local sandlots, memorizing the backs of chewing gum scented cards and travelling across North America to experience as many aspects of the game as possible. In 2009, Hendriks began volunteering at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame as a Weekend Tour Guide. By 2010, he was hired on to help curate for the museum & Instruct the fundamentals of the game along side such legends as Tony Fernandez, Roberto Alomar and Jim Fanning during the Hall's annual Kids On Deck program. Following the 2011 season, Hendriks began blogging and co-hosting a weekly podcast for www.BackInBlue.ca, a Blue Jays themed website ran by fans, for fans. Looking to continue connecting with baseball fans across the country, Hendriks is excited to join such a strong team at the Canadian Baseball Network and looks forward to chipping in.