FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Blue Jays, with their 22-4 record, are the winningest team in baseball this spring.
Granted, it is only Spring Training, and those are just Grapefruit League games. So, however ephemeral, what exactly do all of those wins mean?
"To me, they say three things," manager John Farrell said.
"No. 1, they say the depth and the quality of the overall talent in our organization has improved by the year," Farrell said. "They're a talented group, and they're aware of that talent. That talent is deep, and that talent is entrenched.
"No. 2, 40 players showed up in camp the week before Spring Training started, and it was obvious their focus and attention to detail was outstanding. They were focused and dedicated from the first day they reported. The confidence was there when they reported to Spring Training, and that confidence has continued to grow throughout this month of Spring Training.
"And No. 3, to me, it doesn't matter what time of the year it is, you play to win the game."
In other words, wins matter -- even if they won't count once the bell rings and the regular season begins.
"If we were sitting here 4-22, it would be a different story," Farrell said. "Everyone would be asking, 'What's wrong?'"
Farrell impressed with Vizquel's skill set
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Manager John Farrell was pitching for the Cleveland Indians when Omar Vizquel broke into the big leagues with the Seattle Mariners in 1989, but Farrell still remembers how impressed he was then by the young shortstop from Venezuela.
"It always seemed like he caught every ground ball waist high -- he never got a bad hop," Farrell recalled Thursday with a whimsical smile. "He had such a feel for the game. That's what stood out. Even from the opposing dugout, it was a pleasure to watch him play defense."
Twenty-three years later, Farrell admitted, "It still is."
On Wednesday, the Blue Jays announced that Vizquel, who turns 45 next month, had made the team as a utility infielder, making him the oldest position player in franchise history. Phil Niekro pitched for Toronto when he was 48.
Vizquel -- who has said this season, his 24th in the Major Leagues, will probably be his last -- will join Edwin Encarnacion as the Blue Jays' utility infielders this year, filling in as needed at second base, shortstop and third.
"He recognizes what his capabilities are, and he accepts that role," Farrell said. "Not every superstar player can view themselves accurately at a given time, but Omar still exudes pleasure to play the game.
"The way he's swinging the bat this spring, he's been outstanding. He's provided more than we anticipated coming into this spring."
Vizquel is batting .433 with a .452 on-base percentage in 14 Grapefruit League games.
Most observers agree Vizquel's career has been Hall of Fame-caliber.
"All of the accolades are well deserved," Farrell said.
Lind improving, could return to lineup Saturday
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Injuries continue to be a cause of conversation and concern in the Blue Jays' clubhouse and dugout.
First baseman Adam Lind, hampered by recurring back pain, has been "improving daily," according to manager John Farrell, who said he is "hopeful" the infielder will be able to batting practice this weekend.
"Potentially he'll be in a game Saturday, and if not Saturday, then Sunday," Farrell said.
Lower back pain put Lind on the disabled list from May 17 until June 3 last season and remained something of a problem the rest of the year, but Toronto doesn't believe this is anywhere near that serious.
Outfielder Ben Francisco, sidelined by a sore left hamstring, remained behind Thursday in Dunedin, where he was scheduled to run and take batting practice. Farrell said he hopes to get Francisco some at-bats in a Minor League game this weekend.
However, starting pitcher Dustin McGowan (plantar fasciitis) will remain out of action until further notice.
"We've had to slow him down," Farrell said. "He's still feeling the symptoms and he's taking treatment."
It now appears likely McGowan, who experienced pain when he attempted to throw off flat ground on Wednesday, will start the season on the disabled list.
Unbeaten Aaron Laffey (2-0, 4.80 ERA) is slated to start for the Blue Jays against the Twins on Friday at 1:05 p.m. ET, and manager John Farrell said he may make a decision on the team's No. 5 starter "by Saturday."
"We'll have a better read on that after Friday's game," the manager said.
Starter Henderson Alvarez remained behind in Dunedin to pitch in the privacy of a Minor League game at the Blue Jays' Spring Training complex Thursday, while non-roster pitcher Drew Henderson faced the division-rival Red Sox.
Alvarez pitched seven innings against the Tampa Yankees, allowing one run on two hits and striking out four. He threw 72 pitches.
Jim Hawkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.