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For Christian Lopes, the competition has always been in the family

At first it was cool. Brothers Christian and Tim Lopes both landed in the Toronto Blue Jays organization.

Then it was slightly awkward. See, both Lopes brothers play second base so one brother was going to potentially block the other, not to mention all the other competition at middle infield in the Blue Jays organization.

Then they forgot about it and went back to the business they know best – playing baseball, pushing each other and supporting each other.

The elder Lopes, the 24-year-old Christian, made his Triple-A debut by making the Buffalo Bisons opening day roster. He was drafted by the Blue Jays in 2011 and has made his way up the system.

His younger brother, the 22-year-old Tim, was drafted by Seattle in 2012 and was in the Mariners organization until last September when he became the player to be named later from the August trade of Pat Venditte.

That put Tim and Christian in the Blue Jays organization for the 2017 season.

"At first when we found out it was kind of different," Christian said. "We were kinda like OK well what's going to happen? But it's not in our control. It's not in our hands. At the end of the day we're going to do our best and regardless of what position we play, you know there's a bunch of positions. I know that we're starting to be a little more versatile, moving around the diamond so that's good. We're hoping for the best. We'll see."

At the moment, Christian is hitting well and playing second for the Bisons while Tim is playing every day in Double-A New Hampshire. But looking out for his younger brother is something Christian learned from a young age when the Lopes grew up in Huntington Beach, Calif.

"We always pushed each other," Lopes said. "My dad was a younger brother so he knew how it felt to be the younger brother, so he always made sure that I was loving on him and making sure that we took care of each other and that's just kind of the relationship we have.

"We call each other or Facetime every now and then. He's getting married so we kind talk about that and what he's doing and how the fiancee is doing. Sometimes we talk about baseball so you know typical brother things I guess."

Lopes has been impressive in his first month at Triple-A. He entered Friday night's game against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs on a five-game hitting streak with hits in 12 of his last 14 games.

It's been a smooth transition for Lopes in large part because he's come up with teammates and coaching staff. Lopes played for Bisons' manager Bobby Meacham in Double-A New Hampshire the last two seasons along with fellow infielders Jason Leblebijian, Shane Opitz and Rowdy Tellez.

"I just try to tell myself it's the same game, just a higher level," Lopes said. "I haven't changed too much, just a few adjustments facing guys that know how to throw a couple more pitches for strikes so just understanding that and making sure that I stay with my approach."

For Mecham, the most impressive part of his approach has been his work ethic. Oh, and his ability to hit any fastball a pitcher leaves out over the plate.

"You can just see he works so hard both in the cage and on defense," Meacham said. "This guy might turn into something here because of his hard work. That's what I saw last year. When I put him in the leadoff spot last year, our team took off. The bottom line is he's just ready to hit a fastball.

"As he went to the leadoff spot I said don't change a thing. You're not all of a sudden taking pitches and working your way on. I just want you to hit. Be yourself. That's what he's doing this year, too. He's just being himself no matter where I hit him in the lineup and he's just ready to hit a fastball that they make a mistake on. That's kind of how you have to hit. You complicate it more than that, it probably doesn't work. It's been great that he's been able to continue with that."

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