Welcome back, DH?

Cito Gaston’s dislike of Interleague play has been well documented this year. One reason is that he believes it’s unfair that American League teams are forced to have their pitchers hit in National League parks.

Needless to say, he’s looking forward to returning to the comforts of the Rogers Centre where his club will be able to re-deploy the DH. In speaking to reporters about Toronto’s recent road trip, Gaston said the following: “We’re happy, but we could have been 6-0, too. But we’ll take it and go home and get our DH back.”

Not so fast, Cito.

Based on recent numbers, getting the designated hitter back may not be as good for the Jays as Gaston makes it sound. After all, their regular DH is no longer Adam Lind.

When it was, the Jays were in good shape DH-wise. The 25-year-old Lind was either at or near the top in several offensive categories among designated hitters in the AL over the first month and a half of the season. In 38 games as the DH prior to Travis Snider’s demotion to Triple-A, Lind batted .315 (47-for-149) with 13 doubles, 24 runs scored, seven home runs and 34 RBIs.

Once Snider was demoted on May 22, however, Lind was moved to left field, meaning that Kevin Millar has seen more action in the DH spot than Lind. The results haven’t been pretty.

The Jays have played 18 games since May 22 in which a designated hitter was required. Lind manned the position in seven of those games, hitting just .192 (5-for-26) with a homer and two RBIs (perhaps he’s been thrown off too?) In the other 11 games, Millar has posted a .139 (5-for-36) batting average, six runs scored, a home run and two RBIs while hitting as low as eighth in the order on multiple occasions.

Sure, getting the DH back in Toronto should be an advantage for the Blue Jays. But not with those numbers. If J.P. Ricciardi is looking at improving his ball club over the next several weeks, here’s hoping he’s targeting the DH spot as his first priority.

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