Help send sweet-swinging Lind to St. Louis

On April 3 of this year, MLB.com published an article about Adam Lind, the Blue Jays’ primary DH and occasional left-fielder. The article opened by talking about how, last May, the 25-year-old Lind thought there was ‘a real possibility he had played in his final Major League game.’

Lind had come off a disappointing 2007 campaign in which he had batted .238 with a .278 on-base percentage, 11 home runs and 46 RBI in 89 games for Toronto. Then, he went 1-for-19 to open the 2008 season. So, the youngster found himself sent down to Triple-A once again. Only this time, Lind legitimately thought he may have seen the big leagues for the last time.

“I thought, ‘I better get ready to have my Minor League career because I’m never going back,’” said Lind back in April. “With the start I had, I just figured, ‘Why would they call me back up?’”

Perhaps Lind was selling himself a little short. After all, he was still very young and still possessed a lot of upside. But you can’t blame him either if he had lost some confidence.

Since then, things have changed drastically for the 25-year-old.

Lind3After tearing up Triple-A pitching (.328, six home runs, 50 RBIs in 51 games), Lind was returned to the big leagues (thanks in large part due to a managerial change in Toronto). And that’s pretty much when Lind became Cito Gaston’s protégé.

In 82 games after his callup, the outfielder hit .296 with nine home runs and 40 RBIs. That earned him the full-time gig as the DH entering the 2009 campaign. And what did Lind have to say about that back on April 3?

“I just want to stay here, all 162 games, and put in that grind of the big league season,” he told MLB.com. “If I make it through a whole year in the big leagues, I’ve had a good year.”

No talk about numbers. No talk about tangible performance expectations. Of course he wanted to play well, but his focus was solely on getting the job done well enough to stick with the big club all year.

Halfway through the year, it’s become evident that Lind is far beyond simply ‘sticking in the big leagues.’ In 81 games so far, the left-handed hitter has batted .310 with a .384 on-base percentage, 18 home runs (including a two-run shot during Toronto’s 10-8 loss on Sunday), 25 doubles, and 57 RBIs.

Those numbers have earned the Jays’ slugger a spot on the Final Vote List for the MLB All-Star game. Though he wasn’t listed on the original ballot, his performance in the first half has given him a shot to join teammates Roy Halladay and Aaron Hill in St. Louis for the midsummer classic.   

So what were his thoughts on this honour?

“It’s cool to be considered an All-Star,” Lind said following Sunday’s game. “But like I’ve said, my goal this year was to try to stay here for the whole summer.”

Here’s the thing: he’s not kidding. People around the league have recognized Lind as a potential all-star, yet he’s still simply focused on ‘sticking in the big leagues all year.’ What a refreshing thing to hear from a professional athlete.

And you can tell he’s sincere by simply watching him perform day in and day out. His approach hasn’t changed at all since day one. Of anyone, it could be argued that Lind has a better grasp than any other Blue Jay on what Cito Gaston has preached all year to his hitters: have a plan when you go up to the plate and make the necessary adjustments.

This will be Lind’s first full season in the big leagues. And we put the emphasis on the word full. Lind is here to stay (well, hopefully he’ll be gone for a few days to St. Louis).

But after that, Blue Jays fans, get used to watching that sweet swing from the left side owned by Adam Lind, your full-time No. 3 hitter.

In the meantime, Vote for Lind here (a maximum of 25 votes per email address).

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2 Responses to “Help send sweet-swinging Lind to St. Louis”

  1. Jay B Says:

    you find it refreshing that his sights are still just to stay up in the majors for the summer?

    don’t you think, given that he’s proven to himself that he belongs here, that it’s time to raise the bar for himself a bit?

    not that the modest expectations are hindering his performance, but i don’t see how a pro athlete settling for mediocrity when he’s capable of greatness, is ‘refreshing’…

  2. TD Says:

    Well, he never said that his goal was ‘mediocrity.’

    Maybe I didn’t explain it well, but what I find refreshing is basically that he’s maintaining the same approach that he had to start the year. If there ever was a game that required a consistent, steady approach, it’s baseball.

    And I think it’s his modesty that makes me like him so much. Wel, that and the fact that you can tell how much he enjoys playing the game. Another thing I wanted to talk about in this post was the fact that he’s easily the most quotable guy on the team. Never boring. That’s also refreshing.

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