04/22/07 6:32 PM ET
Notes: Lind more than holding his own
Outfielder has hit well, but holds himself to high standard
By Pete Kerzel / Special to MLB.com
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons looks at Lind and sees an entirely different player, one who looks sure of himself and whose confidence will carry him a long way.
Somewhere between those extremes, Lind is settling in as Toronto's left fielder, seizing an opportunity created when Reed Johnson went on the 60-day disabled list with a sore lower back that will require surgery.
In seven games since Johnson was shelved April 13, Lind is hitting .320 with three RBIs. But being his own worst critic, the 23-year-old sees plenty of room for improvement.
"It just takes time. I go through it every year. April's always a struggle," said Lind, who was hitting .306 with two homers and seven RBIs when he was summoned from Triple-A Syracuse. "In the Minors, I'm around my friends and they know what I can do. Here, I really want to try and do well to show my teammates and earn their respect. You always want to be accepted by your team."
Gibbons would no doubt be surprised by Lind's self-critique. After hitting .367 with two homers and 18 RBIs in an 18-game trial late last season, Lind had already achieved a comfort zone in his manager's eyes.
"Ever since I've seen him, he looks comfortable. He's just got that confident demeanor," Gibbons said. "He's a happy-go-lucky kid who knows how to hit. And that's a good thing."
Gibbons thinks that confidence, however quiet or introspective, will serve Lind well.
"If you think you're good, it takes you a long way," Gibbons said. "When you doubt yourself, you're in trouble."
Flip-flop: To break up a pair of right-handers against Orioles right-hander Steve Trachsel, Gibbons altered his lineup and flip-flopped first baseman Lyle Overbay and designated hitter Frank Thomas. Overbay hit cleanup for the first time this year, while Thomas dropped to fifth, also a first for 2007.
Gibbons insisted that the switch had nothing to do with Thomas' .197 average. Thomas is 1-for-7 on the current road trip and hit into a pair of double plays Saturday night.
"Maybe it'll get it going -- a new look," Gibbons said.
Overbay knows his placement between Vernon Wells and Thomas is temporary.
"Just to separate the two right-handed hitters," Overbay said. "The four, five spot, I think, is pretty similar. You just have to have your game plan and stick with it. ... It's just a matter of getting on base for the guys behind you."
All the better if the Orioles choose to pitch to him and be more careful with Thomas.
"They're going to pitch the way they are, but you definitely don't want to set the table for the big guy behind me and the guys behind him," Overbay added. "I can hopefully use that to my advantage. They've got their mind set on who they're not going to let beat them. We'll see. The situation will dictate."
Roster move: After Sunday's loss, the Blue Jays optioned right-hander Jamie Vermilyea to Triple-A Syracuse and recalled right-hander Brian Tallet from the SkyChiefs.
Vermilyea, who was recalled from Syracuse on April 15 when closer B.J. Ryan went on the 15-day disabled list with a left elbow strain, made his Major League debut Sunday. Vermilyea pitched three scoreless innings, allowing three hits and striking out one.
Tallet made 43 appearances out of the bullpen and one start for the Blue Jays last season, going 3-0 with a 3.81 ERA. He will be used in long relief.
First step: Yes, right-handed reliever Jeremy Accardo walked in a run with the bases loaded Saturday night, allowing an inherited runner to score.
But for a bullpen struggling for consistency over several games, Accardo's three-inning scoreless stint in relief of Josh Towers was a step in the right direction.
After watching eighth-inning collapses Thursday and Friday nights, Gibbons was pleased to see more positive results.
"It hasn't been that bad. Where it's been magnified is the point in the game where it's happened," Gibbons said. "It's late, there's not a whole lot of game left. It's not like they've been pounding either. It's a little hit here and there. ... Then you turn around and they've got their setup [man] or closer coming into the game."
Mea culpa: On the morning after his first ejection of the season, Gibbons offered an olive branch of sorts to umpires. Home-plate umpire Phil Cuzzi tossed Gibbons on Saturday night for arguing balls and strikes.
"Most of the time, you sit back and watch the replays and they got [calls] right," Gibbons said.
Coming up: Tomo Ohka (0-2, 7.02 ERA) gets the call as the Blue Jays open an abbreviated two-game series at Fenway Park against Boston at 7:05 p.m. ET on Monday. Knuckleball specialist Tim Wakefield (2-1, 1.35 ERA) pitches for the Red Sox.
Pete Kerzel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.