Toronto management expected Lawrie to be sidelined two to three weeks with a strained left rib cage (oblique) muscle after he hurt himself during a spring training game against Cincinnati before the World Baseball Classic.
That was nearly six weeks ago on March 6.
Initially, Lawrie’s latest injury wasn’t thought to be as severe as a right oblique strain suffered last season that kept him out of the lineup two months.
The 23-year-old will play third on Tuesday and bat sixth between Adam Lind and Colby Rasmus as Jose Bautista will sit a second consecutive game with back spasms and an ear infection. Bautista had replaced Mark DeRosa at third recently while fourth outfielder Rajai Davis manned right field.
Lawrie might see some action at second base once Bautista is healthy as the team attempts to get by without shortstop Jose Reyes, who could miss up to three months with a severely sprained left ankle.
Emilio Bonafacio will play in right Tuesday, with Maicer Izturis at second and rookie Munenori Kawasaki at short.
At 6-7, Toronto has a chance to reach the .500 mark for the first time this season as it plays the second of a four-game series against the visiting Chicago White Sox (5-8).
Lawrie, who hails from Langley, B.C., had a .273 batting average in 125 games last season with 11 homers and 48 runs batted in.