Blue Jays give Lind a break from first base
Veteran serves as DH in Saturday's tilt, likely to sit out Sunday
TORONTO -- Adam Lind is getting some well-earned rest over the next few days after a long stretch of activity.
The 28-year-old served as the Blue Jays' designated hitter for Saturday afternoon's game with the Rangers and, if all goes to plan, he will get the day off in Sunday's series finale.
Blue Jays manager John Farrell is hoping those two days of reduced activity, plus Monday's off-day, will give Lind some time to recharge his batteries.
"He's been going at it regularly, and I think at this point and time of the year, he's deserving," Farrell said. "And by the way things have gone, he needs to get his legs back underneath him a little bit."
In his first season as the Blue Jays' everyday first baseman, Lind played in 49 consecutive games since being activated off the disabled like on June 4. He entered the weekend batting .262 with 12 home runs and 32 RBIs over that span.
Lind missed 24 games with a lower back injury, which he suffered while manning first base. Lind was a designated hitter and occasional outfielder in his first five seasons in the pros, and he is just now testing his body against the rigors of everyday play in the field.
Lind blamed a weak core for the back injury that sidelined him for most of May and into June, and he has been putting in extra work to strengthen his midsection in order to avoid aggravating the injury.
So far, the results have been positive.
"We check [Lind's progress] daily, and he's done an excellent job of maintaining the core exercises that keep the stability around the midsection, and particularly the low back. He's been diligent with that," Farrell said.
"It's just a matter of the daily play and the first full year going at first base. He's dealing with some things physically, not from an injury standpoint but just overall endurance, that he hasn't been challenged with in his Major League career."
Lind's absence means more chances for Edwin Encarnacion to continue to ride his hot streak. He got the start at first base Saturday and will likely play there on Sunday as well.
Encarnacion reached base in all four of his plate appearances Friday night in the series opener against Texas, and he doubled in four of his previous five games to extend his club lead in that category to 26.
Since the beginning of July, Encarnacion is batting .312 (29-for-93) with nine doubles, three home runs and 12 RBIs.
"With Edwin, we want to keep his bat in the lineup," Farrell said. "He's in one of those runs where he's been a major factor in our offense."
Farrell encouraged by Drabek's toughness
TORONTO -- Left-hander Kyle Drabek continues to work on his game at the Triple-A level after another disappointing outing Friday, when he gave up five earned runs on 10 hits over six innings.
Drabek gave up all five runs and a string of four consecutive two-out hits in the second inning. But Blue Jays manager John Farrell said it was what Drabek did after that that impressed him.
"He had a rough second inning -- but like we've seen with our pitchers in that environment, they're challenged with some runs early but they harden up a little bit mentally and find a way to get through the middle part of the game," Farrell said. "So, from that standpoint alone, it is an encouraging sign that the game didn't completely get away from him."
Drabek is now 2-2 with a 6.93 ERA in eight starts for Las Vegas after being sent down in June following a string of poor starts and control issues.
Over his last three starts with the Blue Jays, Drabek gave up 19 hits and 17 earned runs in just 10 innings of work. And despite not making a Major League start since June 12, Drabek is still tied for 13th with 52 walks issued.
The Pacific Coast League is known for being particularly friendly to batters, and the ballpark that Las Vegas plays in is renowned for being a hitter's paradise. The combination means pitchers almost always struggle at Las Vegas, but in Drabek's case, Farrell does not think that is such a bad thing.
"Without a doubt, it's not ideal conditions to pitch in. It's very different from even what most of the Major League cities offer in terms of hardness of the field and the way the ball carries," Farrell said. "But at the same time, young pitchers are going to run up against offenses that can put a five- or six-spot on the board very quickly.
"I think it can teach them some things about themselves to fight through some difficult moments in a game, and inevitably that's going to happen again to them at some point in their Major League career."
There is no set timetable for Drabek's return to Toronto. Rather, the Blue Jays will allow him to face adversity and work through his struggles at the Minor League level until they feel he is ready to return.
"He's in the midst of it," Farrell said. "He's still developing."
Thames, Farrell discuss approach at dish
TORONTO -- Rookie outfielder Eric Thames received a brief talking to from his manager Friday night after an aggressive approach at the plate, which may have kept a runner out of scoring position.
With the Blue Jays holding onto a slim 3-1 lead in the eighth inning Friday night, Edwin Encarnacion stroked a single up the middle with two outs. Before Encarnacion could even reach first base, speedster Rajai Davis was sprinting out of the dugout to pinch-run and try to move into scoring position.
Davis ranks fourth in the Majors with 31 stolen bases and has been used several times late in ballgames this season to get into scoring position and help pad leads.
But Thames took just one pitch in his at-bat before grounding out to second, ending the inning and not allowing Davis to even attempt to steal second.
"Ideally, you'd like the guy at the plate to give him a couple of pitches. He's put in for the purpose of trying to steal a base," said Blue Jays manager John Farrell. "Eric is an aggressive hitter and he got a pitch in his zone. ... In this case, he ended up grounding out. Ideally, yeah, you'd like to see him work the count a little bit deeper to give [Davis] an opportunity to run."
Farrell followed up with Thames after the game and said he simply chalks up the missed opportunity to Thames' age and aggressiveness.
"He goes in with a hit-first mentality, which we're not going to ask him to change," Farrell said. "But [when] there's certain things that the game is presenting you at that moment, [you have] to make decisions appropriately. But we're not going to fault a guy on his aggressiveness."
The Blue Jays will honor Hall of Fame inductee Roberto Alomar with a pregame ceremony on Sunday afternoon at Rogers Centre. Alomar's No. 12 will be retired -- the first player to have his jersey retired in franchise history -- and the first 20,000 fans to arrive will receive an Alomar bobblehead doll.
The festivities get under way at 12:29 p.m. ET with a screening of a documentary that followed Alomar during his journey to Cooperstown. First pitch will be pushed back to 1:30 p.m. to accommodate the ceremony.
Blue Jays top prospect Brett Lawrie went 2-for-3 with a double, triple and two walks Friday night with Triple-A Las Vegas. In his past 10 games, Lawrie is batting .452 (19-for-42) with five doubles, two triples, three home runs and seven RBIs. He also boasts a .531 on-base percentage and a .881 slugging percentage over that span.
J.P. Arencibia's 17 home runs are the most by a rookie catcher since the Cubs' Geovany Soto hit 28 in 2008. The 17 homers are also the most by a Blue Jays rookie since Eric Hinske hit a club-record 24 in '02.
Arden Zwelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.