Lind hits cleanup for first time
Gaston shows faith in Jays outfielder against Indians
TORONTO -- When Adam Lind was called up to the Blue Jays in June, manager Cito Gaston made sure to place his young left fielder at the bottom of the batting order. As time passed though, the manager had been slowly but surely moving Lind up in the lineup.
On Saturday, Lind's ascension continued, as he was placed in the cleanup spot for the first time this season as the Jays hosted the Indians.
"Since I've been here, Adam's probably hit the ball better than anyone," Gaston said. "So I thought, 'Hey, let's move him up there.' Move him up a little bit at a time, put him in [the fourth spot] and hope he can drive in some runs for us."
Gaston took over as manager of the Blue Jays on June 20. Lind was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse two days later and has been one of Toronto's best hitters since then. Entering Saturday, in the 38 games since he was summoned from Syracuse, Lind has hit .348 with four triples, five home runs, 10 doubles and 26 RBIs.
"He's just been real aggressive," said Gaston. "He's stuck to his plan most of the time. He has a plan when he walks up [to the plate] and he sticks with it."
Lind was called up to the Jays for a six-game stretch earlier in the season and went just 1-for-19 before being sent back to Syracuse. While he has experienced much more success during his recent stint with the Jays, the fact remains that Lind is still learning to adjust at the big league level.
Gaston is not worried about the 25-year-old feeling any extra pressure from hitting in the No. 4 spot, though.
"To me, I don't think it's a big deal," said the manager. "I think he can handle it. I've moved him up a little bit at a time and he's handled every spot that I've put him.
"It certainly lets him know that I have a lot of confidence in him and believe in what he's doing," Gaston added. "Without putting a lot of pressure on him, I just told him to be himself."
With center fielder Vernon Wells set to rejoin the Jays soon, it is unlikely that Lind would remain in the cleanup spot for long. Wells is recovering from a strained left hamstring and could be back with the Jays as soon as next week.
"[This] is a good gauge to see what happens," said Gaston, referring to Lind batting fourth. "He might be there one day [permanently], who knows?"
David Singh is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.