Lind hoping for better season at the plate

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:55 PM ET

DUNEDIN, Fla. — Friday’s game against the New York Yankees marked the official start of Adam Lind’s 2011 spring training.

Lind is injury free and has played in nine of the Jays 16 games but in that game he stroked a three-run home run, the dinger matching the total he has hit in each of his prior spring training escapades with the Jays.

The one dinger and done has been Lind’s calling card in Florida ever since he first attended the big-league camp in 2007. So even with 15 games remaining, don’t expect what the Jays hope is their new first baseman to hit another one before the season opener April 1 vs. the Twins.

They just want him to hit more than one during the regular season.

In 2010 Lind endured just a ratty season, one where he hit .237 with 23 homers and 72 RBIs, down significantly from the .305, 35, 114 numbers he posted the year before.

May and June were particularly soul-sucking, as in May he hit all of .174. Hard to believe, but it got worse in June as he dipped to .156 with just one home run and eight RBIs.

“I don’t really think the whole year was bad but I had two months that were so bad that it made my numbers look so bad,” Lind said.

This, however, is another season and armed with a first baseman’s mitt with the departure of Lyle Overbay, the thinking is that going back to being a position player, learning the intricacies of the position, will be a benefit to the time he spends in the batter’s box.

All the down time between at-bats for a young DH can prove to be debilitating, especially when you happen to hit a rut as deep as the ones that Lind found himself in.

The Jays will be asking a lot more from Lind’s offence than his defence. At first, the simply want him to catch the ball, make the scoops out of the dirt and field the balls hit his way. They don’t expect flash or a Gold Glove.

Offensively, they are looking for something approaching a repeat of 2009.

How does he describe the horror show of 2010?

“You could describe it in a lot of ways,” Lind said. ‘I prefer to describe it as a learning experience and it’s something that I know that I can improve on. Things just didn’t work out my way last year.

When asked why things didn’t work out his way, Lind guffawed.

“There was a lot of bad luck, a lot of good scouting,” he said. “I’ve been around the big leagues a while so they know where you hit the ball on a consistent basis and I’ve got to learn to hit the ball where they don’t play me.

“At the end of the day I didn’t feel great, really, the whole year. I mean health-wise I was fine. I just couldn’t get in a comfort zone and that’s what I’ve really tried to work on, getting in that locked-in spot in spring training.”

Comfort and confidence go hand-in-hand and when a hitter is in the zone it’s a magical thing to behold. Getting there is the hard part.

“I could never really get a feel for what I was trying to do,” Lind said of last season. “I could get a get a feel for two or three days then we’d have an off day and I just wouldn’t have that feel in the box like it was me in there.”

The most frustrating aspect of 2010 was not taking advantage of pitches that he drove over the fences or in the gaps in 2009.

“The hardest thing about last year was when they were throwing me pitches I know I can hit but I was missing them, I mean not even fouling them off, but swinging through them,” he said.

Lind, though, is a confident guy and tends to look on the bright side of life, so he’s not shaken by last season’s failures.

“I learned a lot last year and all the pitches that I missed, I know it won’t happen this year. I’ll definitely do something different to hit those pitches,” he said. “I think about it (2010) but really, right when the season ended was one of the best days of the year last year.”


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