07/23/08 7:30 PM ET
Advice leading Lind to better results
Toronto left fielder has been red-hot at the plate recently
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
Lind has spent time listening to and learning from Toronto manager Cito Gaston, whose first advice for the outfielder was to relax and just have fun. It sounds easy enough, but Lind had folded under the pressure of playing in the big leagues during previous stints with the Jays.
Since being promoted from Triple-A Syracuse on June 21 -- one day after Gaston took over as manager -- Lind has been one of the Blue Jays' most potent hitters. Lind is quick to credit the conversations he's had with Gaston, who has helped him improve his mindset in the batter's box.
"Cito talks a lot about approach -- having a plan," Lind said. "That's really what I think I was kind of lacking when I was up the first time. I had a plan, but it was a good Minor League plan. It wasn't a good big league approach."
Hitting in the Minor Leagues has never been a problem for the 25-year-old Lind, who boasts a .318 career average in Toronto's farm system. Carrying that success over into the Majors has been problematic at times for Lind, who went just 1-for-19 at the plate in a six-game tour with the Blue Jays earlier this season.
Lind said one difference lately has been gaining a better understanding of how to look for pitches in certain zones at the plate. It's a concept that former Jays third baseman Troy Glaus discussed with Lind a year ago, but an approach Lind wasn't able to completely realize until now.
"You just have to sit in your zones," Lind said. "The only person who talked to me about that last year was Troy Glaus. I just couldn't quite grasp it until I really stuck with it. I tried it out, but then I really stuck with it."
Since being recalled from Triple-A, all Lind has done is hit .346 (27-for-78) with five home runs and 22 RBIs in 22 games. Over that span, the left-handed hitter has collected six doubles and scored 13 runs while posting a .361 on-base percentage and a .641 slugging percentage.
On Tuesday night in Baltimore, Lind had a career-high four hits and was a triple shy of his first career cycle. He's had six multihit games since his promotion and raised his season average to .289 from .053 in the process. Dating back to June 21, Lind has led the Jays in average, homers and RBIs.
"We always knew it was in him," Gaston said. "He's hit everywhere he's went. It's not like he hasn't hit in the Minor Leagues. He's hit every place he's stopped off at."
All of Lind's production has come out of the bottom three slots in Toronto's batting order. Gaston has slid Lind as high as seventh, but the way the left fielder has been hitting could warrant a move to a better run-producing position in the lineup. Gaston said he believes Lind eventually could develop into a No. 4 or No. 5 hitter.
"I think he can handle the pressure," said Gaston. "But I'm going to move him slowly up. It's just one of those things where he's pretty comfortable where he's at and he's not going to complain one way or the other, because he's not that kind of kid."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.