At the plate, 51s third baseman Brett Lawrie has made a seemingly effortless transition from Double A to Triple A.
Lawrie, Toronto's No. 2 prospect, leads Las Vegas in batting with a .442 average (19-for-43) and has hit safely in all 10 games this season.
But Lawrie's move from second to third base -- the position he's being groomed to play for the Blue Jays -- hasn't gone nearly as smoothly. He has already made five errors.
"Defensively, he's made some mistakes at third base he recognizes he has to correct," 51s manager Marty Brown said. "He's got a ways to go but not as far as maybe some people think.
"Hopefully we can get him going to where he's comfortable at third base -- and he's not far from it."
The self-assured Lawrie, who played second in his first two professional seasons and was ranked baseball's No. 2 prospect at that position by MLB.com, shrugged off his early struggles at the hot corner.
"I'm just getting my feet in," the 21-year-old said. "It's still early. There's a lot of baseball left."
Despite the growing pains, Lawrie, who booted a ground ball in Friday's home opener at Cashman Field, said he's enjoying the process of learning a new position.
"It hasn't been that big of a transition for me," he said. "It's been fun. It's a challenge for me, and I always like a challenge. I'm getting my work in every day and taking my ground balls to go up to the big leagues as quick as I can."
If the speedy Lawrie can improve his defense and continue his torrid hitting for the 51s (6-4), he could make his major league debut this season.
"I'd say there's a good chance, depending on his numbers, obviously, and what's best for Brett," Brown said.
Lawrie's offensive numbers are impressive. He entered Saturday night third in the Pacific Coast League in batting and tied for the league lead in hits. He has five doubles, one triple, one homer, six RBIs, 10 runs and two steals.
The right-handed hitter went 1-for-4 with an RBI on Saturday night in Las Vegas' 7-0 victory over Fresno (6-4) at Cashman Field, ending his string of five straight multiple-hit games.
"He's an exciting player to watch," Brown said. "He brings a lot to the table: a lot of energy, a lot of speed, and he's got power. He's highly competitive, he's very athletic, and he always plays hard. I've never seen him not play hard."
A native of Langley, British Columbia, Lawrie is a natural fit for Toronto, which acquired him from Milwaukee on Dec. 6 for pitcher Shaun Marcum.
Selected by the Brewers with the 16th pick in the 2008 draft, the 6-foot, 210-pound Lawrie is the highest-drafted Canadian position player ever.
He played for Canada's national baseball team in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, where his sister, Danielle, played for the Canadian softball team, and also represented his country in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
Now Lawrie is a step from breaking into the big leagues with the Blue Jays.
"I just want the ultimate goal, to play major league baseball," he said. "To be able to do that hopefully sooner than later with the Jays is pretty cool."
■ NOTE -- San Francisco Giants right fielder Cody Ross is scheduled to begin a major league rehabilitation assignment with Fresno today at Cashman Field. Ross, who played for the 51s in 2004 and 2005, is returning from a right calf injury.
Contact reporter Todd Dewey at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0354.