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Lind stabilizes DH spot for Blue Jays

Lind stabilizes DH spot for Blue Jays

TORONTO -- Earlier in the year, Blue Jays designated hitter Adam Lind -- an outfielder for most of his professional career -- was trying to establish a routine to occupy his time between plate appearances. Lind's ideal routine turned out to be very simple.

"I've just been chilling," Lind said with a smile. "I really just sit there. When we were in Kansas City and Chicago, my swing didn't feel really good, so I tried to take swings in between at-bats. That just made me feel tired in the batter's box, so I quit doing that."

The 25-year-old Lind became the team's everyday DH at the beginning of the year to make room for top prospect Travis Snider, who is now playing in left field. Lind has been a constant at DH, starting all but four games in that role.

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Last year, 18 players took a turn at DH for the Blue Jays. Matt Stairs received the most starts with 82, followed by Lind, Frank Thomas and Kevin Mench with 16 apiece. Stairs, Thomas and Mench are no longer with Toronto.

Among players with at least 75 plate appearances as a DH this season, Lind's .320 average, .404 on-base percentage, 30 RBIs and 20 runs scored in that role led the American League, entering Friday. He was second in home runs with six and slugging percentage with .547.

Those statistics are a huge improvement over the numbers Toronto's designated hitters put up last season. In 2008, the Jays ranked eighth in the league in average at .247, ninth in on-base percentage at .325, ninth in home runs with 23, 10th in slugging percentage at .918, fifth in RBIs with 99 and 11th in runs scored.

"He's been doing a great job," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said of Lind's contributions this year. "He's learning all the time. ... I like his approach up there. I like his thinking. I like the way he goes about his business."

Gaston has stressed the importance of hitters having a plan when they go up to the plate, and he said that's something Lind has been doing.

"He's got an idea of what he wants to do," Gaston said. "We talk almost every time he goes to the plate. It's about no more than, 'What are you doing?' He tells me what he's doing, and that's it. I just want to remind him to have an idea, that's all."

Gaston said he would try to get Lind some playing time in the outfield before Interleague Play begins to prepare him for games in National League parks where there is no DH. Once the Jays open their Interleague slate, Gaston said Lind will likely play left field against right-handed starting pitchers, and maybe even against southpaws.

"He hangs in there with left-handers pretty well," Gaston said.

Lind has liked being the team's DH, but he will enjoy getting a chance to play in the field again.

"I miss grinding it out with the other guys," Lind said. "They're tired after the game and I'm like, 'All right, let's go.' That's really what I miss. I feel bad, because I just hit four or five times a game, and that's it. I'm not out there sweating and bleeding with those guys.

"I've been in the gym a lot more than I used to be, just so I don't feel so worthless."

Pitching matchup
TOR: RHP Robert Ray (0-1, 6.00 ERA)
Ray took his first loss in the second start of his Major League career in his last outing, which came on May 7 at Angel Stadium. He went a career-high 6 1/3 innings and gave up six runs (five earned) on 10 hits, including two home runs. His walk and strikeout totals showed improvement over his first start -- he struck out two batters and gave up four free passes in his Major League debut, but he fanned four and walked none against the Angels.

CWS: RHP Bartolo Colon (2-3, 4.88 ERA)
Colon started off strong during his first career Mother's Day start, allowing one run on Hank Blalock's solo home run over four innings, but the burly right-hander didn't get out of the fifth, giving up four runs on four hits. Colon struck out four and walked three, but he threw only 52 of his 93 pitches for strikes. The loss on Sunday ended a personal 12-game winning streak Colon had over the Rangers. Colon, whose career record slipped to 152-100 on Sunday, has an 8-3 record and 3.80 ERA against the Blue Jays to go with his 4-2 career record at Rogers Centre.

Bird Feed
Left-hander Ricky Romero (right oblique) was activated from the 15-day disabled list and optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas on Friday. ... Going into Friday's game, right-hander Jason Frasor was tied for the Major League lead in wins among relievers with four. He ranked seventh in ERA at 0.66 and had allowed only one run in 15 appearances this seson. He held opponents to a .174 batting average and left-handed hitters to .050. ... Going into Friday's start, lefty Brett Cecil had allowed one run in two Major League starts, totaling 14 innings. He is the first Blue Jays rookie in club history to allow only one run in his first two starts. He is also the first player selected by the Blue Jays in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft to reach the Majors.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• SNET

On radio
• FAN 590

Up next
• Sunday: White Sox (Gavin Floyd, 2-3, 7.32) at Blue Jays (Roy Halladay, 7-1, 2.95), 1:07 p.m. ET
• Monday: White Sox (Clayton Richard, 0-0, 5.40) at Blue Jays (Scott Richmond, 4-2, 4.28), 1:07 p.m. ET
• Tuesday: Blue Jays (Brian Tallet, 2-1, 4.68) at Red Sox (Tim Wakefield, 4-2, 4.03), 7:10 p.m. ET

Erika Gilbert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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