TORONTO -- For the first time since returning from a lower back injury on June 4, Adam Lind started his second consecutive game at first base on Sunday afternoon.
Lind had previously been alternating between first and the designated hitter spot. That plan of attack helped ease Lind's transition back to the Major Leagues after missing 24 games with tightness in his lower back.
The Blue Jays now feel that Lind has progressed enough to take on an increased workload. The series finale against Boston was considered an ideal time to test that theory, because the club has an off-day on Monday.
"He has been feeling very well coming out of games at first base," manager John Farrell said. "Tomorrow being an off-day [helps], but first and foremost, Adam has felt fine physically."
Lind's presence at first meant Edwin Encarnacion received another start at designated hitter. Juan Rivera was back on the bench, because Farrell believes the veteran isn't as effective at the plate when he's not being used in the field.
Rivera is batting .304 (24-for-79) as a first baseman compared to just .230 (17-for-74) as a DH.
"For the time Juan was playing first base, he was swinging the bat well," Farrell said. "I know he feels more comfortable at the plate when he is playing a position defensively, because he is staying in the full flow of the game.
"This isn't to say that Lind is going to run out the next 35 games at first base. Juan is still going to get his games, but ... I thought [Sunday] was the first opportunity to go back-to-back games with Adam."
Relievers available thanks to McCoy's outing
TORONTO -- Manager John Farrell hopes he never has to ask another position player to pitch, but Saturday's bizarre situation did keep the Blue Jays' bullpen intact for their series finale against the Red Sox.
Farrell called on utility man Mike McCoy to pitch the ninth inning of a 16-4 loss to Boston because his team began to run out of arms in the bullpen. Instead of asking a reliever to throw an extended outing, Farrell went with McCoy.
That move meant all eight relievers were available on Sunday afternoon against Boston.
"Everyone is available," Farrell said. "Depending on how much a guy threw yesterday, [Casey] Janssen would probably be just [the one guy] to shut off an inning rather than a full inning. [I was] just trying to keep guys yesterday from getting too over extended so they weren't available today."
McCoy, who pitched a scoreless inning, has now played seven positions with Toronto in the past two seasons. The only spots on the field he has not yet tackled are first base and catcher.
It was another twist in an eventful season for McCoy. He has filled the 25th spot on the roster, which has meant for a lot of trips back and forth between Triple-A and the big leagues.
McCoy has already been optioned to the Minors four times this season. Farrell said that's not indicative of the way McCoy has been playing, but it's a reality of the situation he's in. When the team has injuries and roster moves need to be made, he can sometimes be the odd man out.
"That's his role," Farrell said. "He's a versatile guy that loves to play, loves to compete and has the ability to do some things for us.
"He has improved quite a bit defensively and he has the ability to steal a base, he can do some things at the plate. He is very much a team player."
McCoy entered Sunday's game hitting .227, with one home run and eight runs scored.
Pitchers getting ready to step into batter's box
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays' pitchers will find themselves stepping into the batter's box on Friday when the second wave of Interleague Play begins in Cincinnati.
The Blue Jays will be travelling to National League parks for the first time this season. The club plays nine consecutive games on the road, which means pitchers will get to showcase their skills with the bat.
Manager John Farrell is one person who is going to keep his expectations in check. He's not going to implement a no-swing policy, but the main priority will be getting down the sacrifice bunt whenever possible.
"That's clearly No. 1," Farrell said. "Anything above that is pure benefit. [Another goal] would be to not come away with any added soreness, because you're swinging the bat so infrequently.
"We've been taking batting practice here for the past three weeks on and off, but the No. 1 goal is to get a sac bunt down when the situation calls."