Notes: Lind struggling to catch up
Jays outfielder having trouble adjusting to the Majors
MINNEAPOLIS -- It's not uncommon for a rookie to struggle at the plate against big-league pitching. Blue Jays outfielder Adam Lind can tell you all about it.
"The pitching is better than I've ever faced, especially day in and day out," Lind said. "There's no bum that you can just rip on. It's been a great learning experience."
Lind was a career .319 hitter over his three seasons in the Minors. But since being called up in April to replace left fielder Reed Johnson, who went on the disabled list with a back injury, Lind has struggled to a .220 average.
Lind can't recall every having a slump of this magnitude in the Minors, but mechanically he believes there's nothing wrong with his swing. He's been working hard in the batting cage and reviewing film to stay on top of the problem.
"I don't think I'm doing anything that bad, I mean numbers-wise it's bad, but it's a tough game up here," Lind said. "I just really think my hits aren't falling, it just happens that way sometimes."
Lind did get a hit to fall on Friday, when he was brought in in the ninth inning as a pinch-hitter. The single was his first hit in nine at-bats. The opportunity shows the coaching staff's confidence in Lind, something that he appreciates.
"I just want to play. Whenever the coaches ask me to step in there, I've got to be ready," Lind said. "Whenever you get your chance you just have to take advantage of it."
When he's not on the field, Lind is trying to learn from center fielder Vernon Wells and outfielder Matt Stairs.
"Stairs is just playing unbelievable out there. I just sit back and enjoy watching him play," Lind said. "And Vernon, he's the best center fielder out there."
Veteran presence: Stairs has brought a lot of on the field experience to the Jays. But manager John Gibbons says he's just as valuable inside the clubhouse.
"[In the clubhouse] he's been huge," Gibbons said. "He keeps it loose. He's been a great pickup."
With 14 years of Major League experience on 10 different teams, Stairs has acquired a career .266 average.
"There's a reason he's been around with so many different teams," Gibbons said. "He's always a guy they're looking to acquire because he can help out in so many different ways."
Stairs is hitting .321 on the season, but he has been hot at the plate recently. He's 10-24 on the current road trip and all six of his home runs this season have come in the last 11 games.
Paying tribute: It was Armed Services Appreciation Day in Minneapolis on Sunday. Pregame festivities included a performance by the Red Devils, the 34th Infantry Division Band from the Minnesota National Guard and a hot air balloon flight inside the Metrodome. The balloon was decorated to honor prisoners of war and armed service members missing in action.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was made an honorary admiral in the Minnesota militia and Twins and Blue Jays players and coaches wore hats representing the different branches of the military.
Down on the farm: Triple-A Syracuse came from behind to win Saturday, when Chad Mottola hit a three-run homer in the ninth inning. It was Mottola's first home run of the season. ... New Hampshire lost, 6-2, to Binghamton on Saturday. Starter David Purcey (3-3) gave up four runs on eight hits, but he struck out seven in six innings. ... Class A Dunedin dropped a close one to St. Lucie on Saturday, 3-2. Al Quintana went 2-for-3 with a double.
Up next: The Jays head home to begin a three-game series against the Yankees on Monday at 7:10 p.m. ET. Dustin McGowan (0-2, 7.17 ERA) will face Matt DeSalvo (1-1, 5.29 ERA).
Leslie Parker is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.