04/05/12 4:00 PM ET
Lind overcomes back issues to start opener
By Gregor Chisholm / MLB.com
Lind had been held out of all baseball activities for five days of the Grapefruit League season, but made his return to the Blue Jays' lineup on Sunday.
The 28-year-old first baseman was given a clean bill of health before heading north and as expected, found himself in Toronto's lineup for the first game of the year.
"I can't say it's going to be completely gone, it's a situation we're going to have to continue to manage," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said of the tightness in Lind's lower back.
Lind experienced similar issues with his back in 2011 while transitioning from designated hitter to first base. He was forced to spend a month on the disabled list and dealt with lingering soreness throughout the second half of the year.
The native of Indiana was hitting .313 with an OPS of .858 when his back flared up last May and proceeded to hit just .229 with a .691 OPS the rest of the way. The disappointing second half eventually led to hitting only .251 for the season, but Farrell indicated he has full confidence in his cleanup hitter.
"Opinions and criticisms are going to come from all angles, but this is a guy that missed nearly a month," Farrell said. "He did have a slump in the second half and yet hit 25 home runs, he's a very good hitter and he's two years removed from a Silver Slugger Award, he's a key part to our offense, and we have that belief and confidence in him."
Opening Day homecoming for Vizquel, Farrell
CLEVELAND -- The Blue Jays' season opener in Cleveland on Thursday afternoon was a homecoming of sorts for both Omar Vizquel and John Farrell.
Vizquel played a starring role for the Indians from 1994-2004, while making two trips to the World Series and winning nine Gold Gloves.
Farrell had an equal amount of time in Cleveland, having spent five seasons with the club as a player and an additional five in a player development role.
"This is where I started as a kid professionally, both as a player and later on in a post-playing career," Farrell said. "There are a lot of special people in this organization that I am still very close with, but most importantly, [this game] is a chance for the Blue Jays to start 2012."
Vizquel was honored prior to first pitch. Even though he wasn't in the starting lineup, Cleveland opted to announce his name and the large crowd at Progressive Field responded with a standing ovation.
It was a special moment for the veteran infielder who is nearing the end of his career. The reaction was exactly the kind Farrell and Vizquel's teammates had been hoping for prior to the game.
"I talked to Omar in the clubhouse earlier this morning, and I would hope and I would certainly think it has a chance to be a really special ovation," Farrell said prior to the game. "Whether or not this is his last year, that's beside the point, but the fact that he has a chance to step out from the introductions and step off that line I hope it brings the house down."
No set pitch limit for starting pitchers
CLEVELAND -- John Farrell will keep a close eye on his starting pitchers for the first week or two of the season, but said the Blue Jays don't have a predetermined pitch limit for each hurler.
Toronto had each of its starters -- with the exception of recently promoted Joel Carreno -- approach the 95-pitch mark during Spring Training. They'll be allowed to throw at least that much during the early stages of the season if the performance on the mound allows it.
"It's more of a range, I wouldn't say there's a drop-dead number, the game, how it unfolds, how taxing certain innings are leading up to the point and time where we're comfortable to the extent of the outing," Farrell said. "But the fact that they've all gone to 95, that's at a minimum [of what] we'd allow a guy to go."
Left-hander Ricky Romero got the start on Opening Day and will be followed by Brandon Morrow, Carreno, Henderson Alvarez and Kyle Drabek.
Carreno's inclusion in the starting five came as a surprise late in camp following the struggles of left-hander Brett Cecil. Carreno didn't throw more than five innings in any outing during the spring and likely will find himself on a shorter leash than the other pitchers.
"Yeah, I feel like I'm ready," said Carreno, who threw 15 2/3 innings last season in Toronto.
"I have a little bit of experience, I've faced a couple of good hitters. Whenever you come up, the guys have more experience than you, they talk to you, they tell you, you have to do this, you have to be careful with the bad pitches ... get in the strike zone as soon as you can."