"Two-eighteen. Don't be afraid."
This is how Brett Lawrie proffers an invitation to afternoon golf to Mark DeRosa, who does not turn it down.
"Far from being afraid," DeRosa said, "I'm in."
What we have here is a burgeoning friendship, just as the Blue Jays intended. DeRosa, 15 years Lawrie's senior and as glutinous a "glue guy" as exists in the game, was brought aboard this superstar-laden squad not to be a key component of the offense but to bring an air of professionalism both to the at-bats and interactions in this chemistry experiment of a clubhouse.
And to be sure, DeRosa's specific locker location in the Toronto clubhouse -- right next to that of Lawrie -- is no happy accident.
"I'll pay $65," DeRosa said to his neighbor, "just to see your driver."
Ah, yes. Lawrie's length off the tee is already the stuff of legend in this room. Asked for Lawrie's average distance, DeRosa exaggerates an estimate: "480 yards!"
They both laugh at this ridiculous claim, but Lawrie's athletic talent and Major League potential are no joke. What's interesting, though, is how the Blue Jays' many impactful additions have had a way of shielding Lawrie from the spotlight. The Blue Jays' supposed superstar-in-waiting is merely a side dish on Toronto's prominent plate.