05/05/12 10:00 PM ET
Blue Jays rotation emerging as strength
By Gregor Chisholm / MLB.com
Bautista, Lind searching for solutions
ANAHEIM -- The Blue Jays entered play on Saturday having won four consecutive games and six of their past seven, but most of that success has come without a lot of production from their No. 3 and No. 4 hitters.Jose Bautista and Adam Lind are still looking for a prolonged period of production at the plate as each player entered Game 3 of a four-game series hitting under .200 for the year. Both players are experiencing some frustration during the early stages of the year but seem to be struggling in different ways. At times, Bautista has been overly aggressive, while the club feels Lind has been a little too patient. "At the beginning of the year, I wasn't really swinging the bat the way I'm capable," said Lind, who entered play Saturday hitting .195 with one home run and seven RBIs. "I mean, I was having good at-bats, seeing pitches, being a bit passive I think, but I had a talk with the staff and they said we don't care about walks anymore, go up there and swing hard." Lind spent a large portion of last season being too aggressive at the plate. Blue Jays manager John Farrell felt Lind would get himself out on occasion by chasing pitches out of the strike zone. The 28-year-old Lind has rectified that problem a little bit this season but might have overcompensated as the club feels some hittable pitches are going by as the first baseman attempts to get into deep counts. "We want him to make an impact with the bat," Farrell said. "That's going to come through driving the baseball and that's going to come by being aggressive, particularly when he gets into leverage counts or advantage counts. That doesn't mean to expand the zone, that means look at an area and turn the bat loose. "We want guys to go in, hit first, slam on the brakes if a pitch is outside the zone, and I think he has been a little bit in between a little bit of the times." The opposite problem has been happening to Bautista, who has expanded the strike zone. Bautista is normally the most patient hitter in Toronto's lineup but has gone through long periods of time this season not getting a pitch to his liking. "I'm trying to have good at-bats," Bautista said after hitting his fifth home run of the season on Friday night. "It's just that I'm not seeing many pitches over the heart of the plate. I'm seeing strikes, but they're just really good pitchers' pitches in the corners, and it's hard to take advantage when that's happening."
Davis returns to lineup
ANAHEIM -- Rajai Davis made his return to the Blue Jays lineup on Saturday night after suffering a left hip flexor injury earlier in the week.Davis had been out since being removed in the fourth inning of Wednesday's game. He was cleared to play Friday night but was given an extra day. "He has bounced back from the slight strain that he felt the other night," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. Davis is currently the Blue Jays' fourth outfielder but has managed to get into 19 games this season because of his overall versatility. The native of Connecticut has been used as a pinch-runner or late-inning replacement but also frequently starts against left-handed pitching. That was the case on Saturday night with Angels southpaw C.J. Wilson on the mound. Davis is a career .288 hitter against lefties, and that track record seems to have given him most of the playing time off the bench over fellow reserve outfielder Ben Francisco. "I think Rajai is a very good defender, and you look at his career numbers vs. left-handers and it's been solid," Farrell said. "When you have five outfielders, there's probably a skill set that might matchup better in certain situations. "I don't want to say it's redundant, because I think Ben is a very good pinch-hitter and can sit and come off the bench and DH after four, five days down and produce a low-maintenance type of swing. He's done just that for us." Davis is hitting .207 (6-for-29) with three extra-base hits and three stolen bases this season. He is a career .272 hitter with 13 home runs and 161 RBIs.
Left fielder Travis Snider was expected to return to the lineup in Triple-A Las Vegas on Saturday night after missing a week because of a wrist injury. Snider was scheduled to go through batting practice prior to the game, and if all went well he was set to be activated off the seven-day disabled list. Blue Jays manager John Farrell said that veteran infielder Omar Vizquel might receive his first start of the season at shortstop on Sunday's series finale in Anaheim. Vizquel has appeared in just five games this season.