TORONTO - On Sunday, a relaxed Adam Lind predicted that he would be back in the lineup for Monday’s game as his lower back pain was responding to treatment. But Monday arrived and Lind instead suffered back spasms and was headed for an MRI and not a return to the lineup.
“He’s not available, he’s still the same as yesterday (Sunday) and I haven’t seen much improvement,” Jays manager John Farrell said Monday prior to the Tigers-Jays game. “It’s day-to-day right now. He is symptom-free when it comes to neurological, but the spasms are strong.”
Given the wonky nature of backs — they tend to get worse before they get better — Lind looks to be heading for a stint on the disabled list.
“It’s concerning if there’s no improvement over the next day or two,” Farrell said. “If there’s no improvement, we’d have to consider the next step.”
Meaning a stint on the disabled list?
“I think at some point in the near future we certainly wouldn’t rule it out at this point,” he said.
For the second consecutive day, the Jays went with David Cooper at first base.
Ahead of the curve
The most pleasant surprise of the season has been the work of the bullpen, which has posted a collective 2.77 ERA, the third best in the American League. The Jays bullpen also leads the majors with an opponents’ batting average of .191.
The lone lefty in the bullpen is Marc Rzepczynski, and he has been just aces since he made the team as a converted starter. Zep leads the club with 17 appearances and over 15 2/3 innings he has allowed just six hits and four earned runs for a 1.77 ERA.
He is at his best when facing left-handed hitters. They have gone all of 2-for-26 (.077) against him to date. Right-handers have fared a little better, going 4-for-24 for a .167 average.
It has been a seamless transition for the easy-going lefty.
“I’m just going at it almost exactly like starting,” Zep said of his approach. “I’m still throwing all my pitches. I’m just trying to execute one pitch at a time and not think about anything else.”
One plus for Zep as a reliever is an increase in velocity. He is now throwing 92 m.p.h. consistently instead of 89-90.
“I think that’s the one difference I have from starting to relieving,” he said. “When I’m only pitching one inning, I feel like my velocity is better. I don’t know if my arm strength is up but I feel like I’ve got a little bit more life on it with the same movement that I had when I was a few miles an hour slower.
“I think it makes me more effective against right-handers.”