With no DH, Lind left out of Toronto lineup
Slugger expected to start Saturday; Lewis homers in first at-bat
PHOENIX -- Without the use of the designated hitter at Chase Field, Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston was forced to make a decision on Friday night. The skipper admitted that putting Adam Lind on the bench was a tough call.
"That's where it becomes hard, when you start playing Interleague," Gaston said. "You leave a guy out that hit 35 home runs last year."
Lind doubles as a left fielder when he is not serving as Toronto's DH, and Gaston said he will likely use him in left for most of the Interleague games in National League cities. For Friday's game, Gaston said the decision to give Lind the day off boiled down to the numbers some of his other players have put up against D-backs starter Dan Haren.
Fred Lewis, who played for the Giants in the NL before joining the Jays this season, entered hitting .421 (8-for-19) in his career against Haren and got the nod in left field. His first at-bat? A home run over the right-field fence to lead off the game.
Jose Bautista -- starting in right field -- entered with just one walk in his career against Haren, but has hit .353 over his past 11 games, and continued his hot hitting with a solo homer to left.
Lind was not left out of the Jays' party, however. He connected for a pinch-hit solo homer -- Toronto's sixth of the game -- to cut the D-backs' lead to two runs in the ninth inning, but Arizona held on for the 8-6 victory.
Gaston could have given Bautista a start at third base, creating a situation where Lewis could have manned right and Lind left. Instead of using that alignment, Gaston slotted Edwin Encarnacion (2-for-5 in his career against Haren) into the lineup at third base. Lind has never faced Haren in his career.
"I just looked at some numbers," Gaston said. "It gives Lind a day off, but I'll get him back in there [on Saturday]. For the most part, he'll be in there."
Lind, who carried a .151 average for the month of May into the series with Arizona, said Gaston did not talk to him about how his playing time would be managed during Interleague Play. Even so, Lind said he was not surprised to see he was not in Friday's lineup.
"Not really," Lind said. "All our outfielders are doing a great job. I'll be ready. That's all I can do -- be ready."
Asked if a day off might benefit him in light of his recent struggles, Lind shrugged.
"I guess, but I'm not asking for one," he replied.
Snider could rejoin Jays when eligible
PHOENIX -- If everything goes according to plan, outfielder Travis Snider could rejoin the Blue Jays as soon as he is eligible to be activated from the disabled list.
"I think so right now," Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said on Friday. "It's still a little early, but that's the way it seems to me. But again, if he needs another few days or a week, that's fine."
Snider is on the 15-day DL with a sprained right wrist and will be eligible to return on May 30. The 22-year-old outfielder injured the wrist while fouling off a pitch during the third-inning of Toronto's 16-10 win over Texas on May 14.
Anthopoulos said the injury is not considered serious.
"It's not serious at all," Anthopoulos said. "The way they explained it to me is it's the equivalent of if you sprain an ankle. It's just one of those things where you need to stay off it and stay fresh. He's feeling a lot better. He just needed to let it calm down and let it heal."
Litsch getting consideration for rotation job
PHOENIX -- Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos plans on giving Jesse Litsch serious consideration for a rotation job when the right-hander is ready to return from the disabled list the first week of June.
"Especially when you look at how he threw at the end of 2008," Anthopoulos said. "He was sent down and when he came back, his velocity increased, and I think it really started to click for him."
Litsch won 13 games for the Blue Jays in 2008 and went 5-2 with a 1.92 ERA over his final nine outings that season. The right-hander made just two starts in April of last season before undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in June.
Litsch, who is eligible to be activated from the 60-day DL on June 4, posted a 1.80 ERA over 15 innings in two rehab outings with Class A Dunedin. The righty was roughed up in his first rehab start with Triple-A Las Vegas on Friday, allowing eight runs on 11 hits over 6 2/3 innings.
Anthopoulos said Litsch's situation is similar to Blue Jays starter Shaun Marcum, who missed all of last year after underoing Tommy John surgery. Marcum is now Toronto's No. 1 starter and has gone 3-1 with a 2.61 ERA through nine starts this season, ranking second in the American League with 62 innings.
"I think he's a guy just like Marcum, who has come back and looked great," Anthopoulos said. "Litsch is a very good athlete, just like Marcum is. I'm hopeful, and I expect him to come back just as good as he was at the end of 2008."
Jays keeping positive outlook on McGowan
PHOENIX -- Dustin McGowan is approaching an unfortunate milestone. The sidelined starter is closing in on the two-year anniversary of his right shoulder surgery -- with no big league starts over that time frame.
Even as McGowan's recovery drags on, the Blue Jays are maintaining a positive outlook.
"Really, that's something that we rely on our trainers and doctors," said Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos. "We still have high hopes in him. We still believe in him. He's a great human being, he's a great worker and his ability is such that we're certainly not going to give up on him.
"As long as [the doctors and trainers] continue to tell us that they're optimistic about him coming back, we'll wait as long as we need to wait."
McGowan is currently at Toronto's Minor League complex in Dunedin, Fla., and Anthopoulos noted that he is playing catch from a distance of 60 feet. McGowan underwent surgery on his throwing shoulder in July of 2008 and has struggled with various setbacks over the past two seasons.
"His shoulder feels good and he'll continue with his rehab," Anthopoulos said. "Every step, as you continue to extend, you hope he continues to pass the tests and continues to feel good."
Blue Jays catcher John Buck entered Friday riding a career-best 10-game hitting streak. Over that span, Buck has hit .419 with three doubles, three home runs, eight runs scored and 10 RBIs. The 10-game streak was the longest for a Jays player this year and tied for the fourth longest in team history by a Toronto catcher. ... Jays center fielder Vernon Wells entered Friday with 203 home runs, one shy of taking sole possession of second place on the club's all-time list. Joe Carter also launched 203 homers as a member of the Jays. ... Jays lefty Brian Tallet (left forearm) made a rehab start for Class A Dunedin on Thursday, giving up two hits over four innings. ... Triple-A Las Vegas lefty Brad Mills earned his fourth win of the season Thursday night after allowing two runs over six innings in a 4-3 win over Albuquerque. Mills leads all Jays' Minor League pitchers with 50 innings pitched.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.