Lawrie said he felt a "minor twinge" in his side while playing for Team Canada Wednesday. He was removed from the exhibition against the Cincinnati Reds after three innings and manager Ernie Whitt told reporters that the team would keep an eye on the third baseman.
With the announcement of the rib strain, the Blue Jays have said Lawrie will discontinue his participation in the WBC and return to Florida to undergo further evaluations.
Lawrie dealt with a similar injury last season when he suffered a strained oblique muscle. It caused him to miss significant time before he was able to return for the end of the 2012 season.
More Blue Jays: Brett Lawrie pulled from WBC game
Obliques can be tricky, and Lawrie said he wanted to shut things down to avoid aggravating and worsening the injury. He attempted to play through his oblique strain last season - to the detriment of his production - only to lengthen its duration.
The 23-year-old hit .273/.324/.405 with 26 doubles, three triples and 11 home runs over 536 plate appearances in 2012. He remains optimistic that he'll be ready to go when Opening Day rolls around.