By Bruce Levine–
GLENDALE, Ariz. — (CBS) With a history of injuries and missed games in the past, infielder Brett Lawrie was released by the White Sox on Friday.
The 27-year-old Lawrie — acquired prior to the 2016 season in which the White Sox were aiming for a playoff spot with a veteran core — had been battling the same leg injury this spring that he dealt with last summer. Lawrie hit .248 with 12 homers, 36 RBIs and a .723 OPS in 94 games in 2016.
Also contributing to his release was the White Sox embarking on a full-scale rebuild.
“As we talked about when we started this process, there would be some difficult decisions,” general manager Rick Hahn said. “Today was all about making a difficult decision. Brett is a talented player who no doubt will help a club. At the same time, we are committed to playing time for several of our young players, players who are going to be here for an extended period of time. Major league playing time and at-bats are scarce.”
Lawrie tried a rehab assignment last July and going on the disabled list in late July with a hamstring injury, but he couldn’t get back into game shape and encountered different leg pain.
Earlier this offseason, the White Sox and Lawrie had agreed to a $3.5 million salary for 2017. With his release, the White Sox are only on the hook for $530,000.
Lawrie has topped the 100-game mark only three times in his six-year career.
“(Brett) is a good friend of mine,” third baseman Todd Frazier said. “We got along really well. This is a crazy business. We talk about that all of the time. He is a class act and a gamer when he was out on the field. He is always the kind of guy you want on your side. He is a gamer.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.