TORONTO – Adam Lind rejoined the Toronto Blue Jays from his latest bout of back troubles faster than he expected and is confident he’s at 100 percent after testing himself thoroughly during a four-game rehab stint at single-A Dunedin.
“I scored from first twice,” he quipped Thursday, before serving as the DH against the Philadelphia Phillies. “I feel like I’m ready to go for as long as I can go. Hopefully it’s for the rest of the season.”
Lind spent time on the DL with back issues in both 2011 and ’12, but was able to play the entire season in 2013. This year, his back tightened up while the Blue Jays were in Baltimore April 11-13 and he came out of a 9-3 win over Minnesota on April 15 after scoring in the sixth.
He’s employed a variety of different approaches to keep his back from acting up, including yoga, and isn’t sure what else he can do.
“That’s the golden question, isn’t it?” he said when asked about avoiding another flare up. “Just pray. Hope it doesn’t happen again. … I’m going to do everything that I can, just like I thought I was before it happened. But you learn from a few things and continue to move on like this game does.”
Lind was off to a strong start before his injury, posting a slash line of .324/.465/.500 in 13 games. Picking up from where he left off won’t be easy.
“My timing was good for down there, we’ll see where it’s at up here,” he said. “It’s different with the stuff the pitchers have. There’s nothing you can do but play the game, and hopefully I’m ready.”
LAWRIE ON MEND: Brett Lawrie (hamstring) took some groundballs at third base on Thursday and manager John Gibbons said he’d be reassessed Friday.
“It may be a couple of days [before a return],” said Gibbons. “I said [Wednesday] I thought maybe [Thursday] or [Friday]. Probably the smartest would be a couple of days, at least one to go through his routine out there.”
Juan Francisco has been strong filling in for both Adam Lind and Lawrie.
“He’s not going to make the plays Brett makes down there, but a lot of guys can’t do that,” said Gibbons. “He’s been great for us. He’s been great defensively; he’s been real good offensively.”
Once Lawrie returns, Francisco will offer Gibbons a strong bat off the bench.
SANTOS ON TRACK: Sergio Santos bounced back from consecutive outings in which he blew a save with a clean eighth inning in Wednesday’s 10-0 win over the Phillies.
The right-hander threw 10 pitches, eight for strikes, including five of them looking. He struck out Jimmy Rollins to end the frame.
“A very much needed one-two-three inning,” he said. “It was nice to get out there and throw the ball where I wanted to and execute that way. I’m hoping it’s one step of me going in the right direction.”
What did he like about the way he pitched?
“My tempo was good, and my location on the fastball,” he replied. “When you’re going bad and you miss on a spot, they make you pay for it. It seems like when you’re going great and you miss a spot, they’re grounding out or popping up somewhere. I don’t like to take a chance on that, I like to try to hit my spot. Just that. Wherever Thole’s glove was located, and found myself hitting that spot consistently.”
The Blue Jays moved Santos out of the interim closer’s role after he gave up two homers in the bottom of the ninth to the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 6-5 win. They’re trying to rebuild his confidence in lower leverage situations and he’s worked to wipe his memory clean.
“You almost have to convince yourself to forget, almost like it never happened,” he said. “That’s the way I’m looking at it now.”