Lind has Bautista's back
By MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency
When the Blue Jays played in Baltimore on the weekend, the Orioles paid Jose Bautista the ultimate compliment: They didn’t give him anything to hit. The Jays slugger was just 1-for-9 in the series and also was walked five times — once intentionally. Bautista was so hot there for a while that you can’t blame a manager such as the Orioles’ Buck Showalter for not challenging him.
The only way to force teams to pitch to Bautista is for the hitters behind him to produce and that’s what the Jays are hoping will happen now that Adam Lind is back in the lineup and batting behind Bautista in the cleanup spot.
“That would be the first thought,” manager John Farrell said. “We might also give Corey (Patterson) a little more freedom at first base (to steal) than in the past. I think we’ll look to play our style of game rather than react to the potential of what teams might do to Jose because of Adam’s presence. Even in they opt to put Jose on first base, it’s another base-runner for Adam with the potential to do further damage.
“The fact that Adam is back is a positive and it gives us more offence at the top of the order to do some things.”
Pitcher Jesse Litsch, who was placed on the disabled list May 20 with right shoulder impingement, will throw his first side session on Tuesday in Dunedin, Farrell said.
“He’s felt very good through his flat ground phase of his throwing program, long tossed out to 180 feet today with about a 45-foot distance off the mound just to get a feel for the incline,” Farrell said. “He’s had no ill effects and has had full range of motion in his shoulder.
“Provided everything continues on course, he’ll throw a simulated game within the next five days.”
Once he progresses to the point where he can get into games (with class-A Dunedin), Farrell said Litsch will require multiple rehab starts due to the fact that he has been shut down for so long.
Litsch, by the way, is still second on the club in wins with four.