TORONTO -- It might sound simple, but Adam Lind credits increased confidence for his recent improvement at the plate. Toronto's designated hitter admits that was an area he struggled with throughout the first three months of this trying season.
"I always thought I could still get hits," Lind said on Wednesday. "But I was just swinging through pitches. It reminded me of my rookie year. It was like, 'How am I missing these pitches?' I was getting fastballs that I could drive and that I know I could hit, and was just missing pitches over the plate.
"Something's wrong when you can't hit fastballs that are over the plate. I'd go back to the dugout and think, 'Why am I missing these?'"
Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston does not doubt that was an issue for Lind.
"When you struggle, you lose confidence in yourself -- no matter who you are," Gaston said. "You start to doubt yourself and wonder, 'Hey, do I belong here? Can I hit here?' All those things run through your mind and that doesn't help at all."
Dating back to July 1, Lind has been feeling more confident and comfortable in the batter's box. Since then, he has hit .291 with a .345 on-base percentage and a .532 slugging percentage. That follows a 77-game stretch during which he hit just .203 with a .264 on-base percentage and a .341 slugging percentage.
"It's been a little bit of luck and confidence," said Lind, who made it a goal at the All-Star break to lift his average to .250 before the end of the season. "I think a lot of it is my rhythm at the plate. I feel comfortable up there right now."
Lind, who entered Wednesday hitting .234 with 17 homers and 56 RBIs in 119 games for Toronto this season, said part of his problem early on might have been trying multiple changes to his swing mechanics and approach.
"I was trying to feel it," Lind said. "I think I've kind of got a feel for what's right right now. Trying so many things could be a bad thing in one way, but you're trying to figure things out. When you try so many things, you probably create other bad habits.
"Now, I've just really tried to keep it simple."
Bautista celebrates two years in Toronto
TORONTO -- Jose Bautista smiled when he was wished a happy anniversary. Wednesday marked two years since the Blue Jays completed a trade to acquire Bautista from the Pirates. Toronto's leading power hitter could not have been more thrilled with the move.
"It's worked out pretty good so far," said Bautista, who leads the Major Leagues with 40 home runs and leads the Blue Jays with 95 RBIs. "I feel great about being part of this ballclub. I like the direction we're heading."
On July 31, 2008, the Pirates acquired third baseman Andy LaRoche as part of the three-team deal that sent Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers and Jason Bay to the Red Sox. As a result, Bautista lost his starting role at third for Pittsburgh and was subsequently sent to Triple-A Indianapolis.
Bautista asked the Pirates to try to pass him through waivers that August, hoping for a fresh start with another team. Toronto attempted to claim him from Pittsburgh, but the two clubs ultimately worked out a trade -- completed on Aug. 25 -- that sent catcher Robinzon Diaz to the Pirates.
"For whatever reason it was, I had fallen out of favor," Bautista said. "I communicated to them that this is a business and obviously they didn't feel that I was the type of player that they wanted on their team. If there was any way possible that they could put me on waivers, see if they could work out a deal to get player in return that they thought could help their organization.
"Get rid of me and don't hinder me from developing into the player that I could be, and let me help another organization. I asked them to put me on waivers and try to work out a deal. They did that a couple days later, and to this day, I'm grateful that they did."
Gaston shuffles Hill to eighth in lineup
TORONTO -- Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston dropped Aaron Hill to the eighth spot of the batting order on Wednesday, hoping the change might take some pressure off the slumping second baseman.
"I'm just trying to get him somewhere comfortable," Gaston said. "I've been watching the last week, two weeks, three weeks and he's come up in those spots that have really been sometimes crucial spots.
"That might be tough on him right now, because he's struggling really bad as far as trying to find his swing and getting back to where he was before. I thought I'd move him down."
Entering Wednesday, Hill was stuck in an 0-for-20 skid at the plate and was hitting .151 with no home runs and three RBIs over his past 14 games. That follows a stretch during which Hill showed some offensive life, hitting .302 with seven homers and 15 RBIs over 22 games.
Gaston moved All-Star catcher John Buck up to the sixth spot, which had been occupied by Hill since June 24. Hill, who hit .286 with 36 homers and 108 RBIs last season for the Blue Jays, opened this season as the second hitter in Toronto's lineup. Overall, he has hit .206 with 18 homers and 48 RBIs in 105 games.
Gaston did not believe the move to the eight-hole would hurt Hill's confidence.
"No, I don't think so," Gaston said. "I'm just hoping that will help him relax a little bit."
Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista has six multihomer games this season, matching the second-highest total in one year for a Toronto player. George Bell holds the franchise record with nine multihomer showings in 1987. ... Since the All-Star break, Bautista has paced all Major League hitters in home runs (16), RBIs (39), extra-base hits (25), total bases (99), slugging percentage (.728) and on-base plus slugging (1.128). ... Blue Jays catcher John Buck entered Wednesday with the most home runs (14) among American League catchers. ... Jays center fielder Vernon Wells entered Wednesday eight hits shy of 1,500 for his career. His 1,492 hits rank second on the team's all-time list behind Tony Fernandez (1,583). ... Class A Lansing catcher Sean Ochinko went 2-for-4 in an 8-5 win over Fort Wayne on Tuesday, collecting his organizational-leading 35th and 36th doubles. Over his past 12 games, Ochinko has hit .333 with five doubles, one home run and nine RBIs. ... Since June 2, Double-A New Hampshire right-hander Zach Stewart has gone 6-2 with a 2.75 ERA over 15 starts. Stewart has lowered his season ERA to 3.73 from 6.02 over that span.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.