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Confidence in Adam Lind

One of our concerns, heading into the season, was would we have the Adam Lind from 2009 or the Adam Lind from 2010. In 2009 Adam hit 35 home runs and had a .305/.370/.562 line. In 2010 it was 23 homers and a .237/.287/.425 line. As he also signed a long contract at the start of last season, with a number of team options, we had reason to worry.

Adam has had kind of a checkered past with the team. He was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2004 draft by the Jays, after being drafted in the 8th round of the 2002 draft by the Twins but not signing. Sometimes not signing pays off. He climbed nicely through our minor league system and had folks talking about his 40 homer potential. In 421 minor league games he had a .320/.382/.512 line and 55 home runs (we didn't play in Vegas back then).

2006: Lind was a September call up, and did really well, hitting in 13 of the 18 games he played, with a 367/.415/.600 line, 8 doubles and 2 home runs. 

2007: The season started well, Lind hit .288/.367/.519 in April, but things went downhill from there and he was sent back to Syracuse in July. 

2008: Adam started in the minors, then Frank Thomas was released and Shannon Stewart wasn't hitting, so the Jays called him up the end of April. He had one hit in 19 at bats and the Jays figuring they had seen enough of him, sent him back down and gave us the two-headed Mencherson monster. You gotta love the patience shown by John Gibbons and JP Riccardi. Massive hole in our offense, a great young prospect and you give up on him after 19 at bats. Instead we use players released by other teams. You can tell everything you need to know about a young player in a week.

Gibbons was fired, Cito hired. The first thing Cito did was get Lind back up with the team and he turned Adam into his pet project. You often saw Cito and Adam talking in the dugout. For me, that was the best thing Cito did in his second time around with the Jays. I wish he had shown the some confidence with some of the other young players, but Cito seemed to just love Lind. 

2009: Lind showed Cito's confidence in him was well placed.

2010: I don't know what happened. Adam seemed to get a little pull happy. Heck, it worked out well for Jose Bautista, John Buck and others. Cito even had John McDonald thinking pull and John had his best offensive year ever with the team. For Adam, I think he is better off hitting to all fields. When he is going good, he hits double after double the opposite way.

Maybe he needed to play in the field more, I think it is tough on a young guy to DL. If you have a bad at bat there is nothing to do but stew over it, until the next at bat. Adam has always hit better when playing in the field. Then, most players do. 

This year? He started kind of slow, not bad but not great. When he started to heat up back problems put him on the DL. Fortunately he has been even hotter after coming back to the team. In 5 games he has hit .353 with 4 homers, 6 doubles and 10 RBI.

The back troubles are something the Jays are going to have to watch. First base is a bad spot for someone with an iffy back. There is a lot of bending, stretching, up-down stuff. You are involved with most of the fielding plays. I'm hoping the Jays give him a day at DH every 3 games or so. Playing field 2 and DH 1 seems like a good plan to me. He plays a good first base but the priority has to be keeping him healthy.

I am so glad that we have gotten off of the 'Lind isn't comfortable hitting cleanup' stuff. I hate when managers buy into that idea that there is something magical about the different spots in the order. A player doesn't like to hit where you want to put him? Say 'get used to it'. If you don't play into a player's feelings that he can't hit in a certain spot, it will go away.

Anyway, I do have confidence in Adam Lind, not that I think he will hit 4 home runs every week, though I'm not against the idea.I think he'll have a great career. With any luck he'll give us around 30 home runs a year and hit for a reasonable average. I hope he is a Jay for a long time.