06/25/12 7:17 PM ET
Lind joins Blue Jays after shaking it up in Minors
By Gregor Chisholm / MLB.com
The first baseman re-joined the Blue Jays on Monday in Boston after more than a month in Triple-A Las Vegas.
The extended time away was meant to give Lind a mental break and provide a better environment to alter his mechanics at the plate.
"I just needed to get away from here and have a different set of eyes on me," said Lind, who was promoted following the Blue Jays' 9-0 loss to Miami on Sunday afternoon. "Just a change of scenery, I think, is good.
"It was pretty far away, different group of guys. Things are different down in the Minor Leagues -- mentally, physically, routines are different. It was nice to just kind of shake it up for about a month."
Lind began the season as the club's cleanup hitter, but he was eventually demoted to the Minors after a subpar start to the year. Once there, he began working with hitting coach Chad Mottola on finding the stroke that led to a Silver Slugger Award-winning season in 2009 and also a prolonged period of success at the beginning of his 2011 campaign.
Lind was first partnered up with Mottola in 2005, and the familiarity between the two helped speed up the overall process. One of the main goals was to make sure Lind was comfortable again in the batter's box.
For much of the past two seasons, Lind has either been too aggressive or not aggressive enough at the plate. He believes that through his work with Mottola, they have found the right balance.
"They use words down there like, instead of 'taking a pitch,' it's 'invest in a pitch,'" said Lind, who hit just .186 in 34 games earlier this year with Toronto. "Pretty much the first week I was down there, I didn't even care about the result. It was trying to get comfortable in the box.
"There were at-bats there where I didn't even really worry about swinging, just trying to feel comfortable. And we gradually got to that point, and then the last couple weeks, I kind of started taking off."
Lind hit .392 with eight homers and 29 RBIs in 32 games for Las Vegas. Those numbers have to be taken with a grain of salt, though, because they came in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, where the 51s have combined to hit .309 as a team with an .847 OPS in 76 games this season.
The 28-year-old Lind is aware of the discrepancy between the PCL and the Majors, which is why importance was always placed on the overall process rather than the final results.
"Control, location -- it's a whole different world," Lind said when asked the difference between pitchers in Triple-A and ones in the big leagues. "Scouting reports, stuff the pitchers have. There's probably two or three guys on every [pitching] staff that are pretty good. Maybe one starter and two relievers.
"For the most part down there, a lot of those guys might have some service time, but a lot of them ... there's a reason why people are in the Minor Leagues, because we're not good enough to be in the big leagues."
Lind is now back with the Blue Jays, but his role with the club won't be the same as when he left in May. The seven-year veteran won't be in a strict platoon -- he is expected to sit against most left-handers, which was the case on Monday night in Boston, with Felix Doubront on the mound for the Red Sox.
Manager John Farrell also said he expects Lind to hit in the lower part of the order. A final decision hasn't been made, but Farrell estimated that Lind likely will be slotted into the sixth or seventh spot in the lineup.
The Blue Jays hope that improved production from Lind will provide more depth to an already potent offensive attack. Toronto has combined to score 53 runs in its past nine games and entered play on Monday night ranked third in the American League with 353 runs scored.
"The way he got back to a consistent approach," Farrell said. "The rhythm in his swing and I think, more importantly, the ability to make those adjustments in an environment that allowed him to relax and be the player we've seen in Toronto for a number of years.
"He comes back to us having performed exceptionally well there, and really, his performance has forced -- I don't want to say the hand -- but the decision to get him back here to put a productive left-handed bat into our lineup."