03/22/2012 02:16 EDT | Updated 05/22/2012 05:12 EDT

Injured Lawrie nears return to Blue Jays lineup

The Toronto Blue Jays are being careful with third baseman Brett Lawrie and will wait a couple of days before putting him in a game situation.

Out of spring training action since March 16 with groin tightness, Lawrie ran without incident Wednesday and was expected to ramp up on-field workouts Thursday in hopes of a Saturday return against Atlanta.

Lawrie, 22, said a few days ago the injury isn’t serious but there’s no reason to rush the young slugger with the start of the regular season still two weeks away.

Blue Jays fans are excited to see what the Langley, B.C., native can produce in his first full season in Toronto. Lawrie posted a .293 batting average in 150 at-bats last season with nine home runs, 25 runs batted in and a .953 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.

Prior to his latest injury, Lawrie was leading the American League in hits (14), doubles (six) and stolen bases (five) at 2012 spring training.

He also led the Blue Jays in average (.609), on-base percentage (.625) and slugging percentage (.957).