Notes: Lind will need patience
Talented prospect currently doesn't have spot in Jays outfield
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Adam Lind is a victim of circumstance.
Lind has used his smooth swing to ascend rapidly through Toronto's farm system, and the club believes that the 23-year-old outfielder could succeed in the big leagues. The problem is that there isn't enough room in Toronto's outfield.
Lind would have to play left field, but Reed Johnson has emerged as the everyday player at that position for the Blue Jays. Even so, Toronto manager John Gibbons wants to make sure Lind doesn't let that fact affect how he prepares for the upcoming season.
"I had a talk with him early in camp," Gibbons said on Monday. "I told him, 'Hey, you approach it like you're going to make this team. Keep that edge.'"
The way things are currently stacked up, Lind probably wouldn't make Toronto's roster. The Jays don't want a young player like him to sit on the bench when he could be getting regular at-bats and working on his defense with Triple-A Syracuse. That's why Toronto signed veteran Matt Stairs, who can serve as a fourth outfielder and a backup at designated hitter and first base.
"We brought in Matt Stairs to be the extra guy," Gibbons said. "[Lind is] too young to be sitting around. He needs to face lefties and righties, because we think he's going to be an everyday player in the big leagues -- not the bench type."
If one of Toronto's full-time outfielders -- center fielder Vernon Wells, right fielder Alex Rios, and Johnson -- were to have a setback this season, Gibbons said Lind would likely be called up to start. Gibbons added, though, that Lind might not be the No. 1 option if something happened to Stairs.
Since being drafted in the third round by Toronto in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, Lind has climbed quickly up the organizational ladder. In 321 Minor League games, he's posted a .319 average with 43 home runs and 223 RBIs. Last season, he was named the Double-A Eastern League's Most Valuable Player.
The Jays called Lind up in September, and he went on to hit .367 with two homers, eight doubles and eight RBIs in 16 games with Toronto. He tied a club rookie record by collecting 15 hits in his first 10 Major League games, serving mainly as a DH. Gibbons said he plans on giving Lind more playing time in the outfield during Grapefruit League games this spring.
Game on: The first rain of Spring Training brought out the tarps Monday morning, but the Baseball Gods weren't about to let a game get delayed. The rain stopped and the sun broke through the clouds, allowing Toronto to go ahead with its first intrasquad game of the spring.
For those keeping score, Team No. 1, which featured Toronto starters Lyle Overbay, Gregg Zaun and Reed Johnson, defeated Team No. 2, which was led by big leaguers Vernon Wells, Aaron Hill, John McDonald and Rios. The final score, 2-0, indicated that the pitchers were still ahead of the hitters.
Dustin McGowan threw 14 pitches, including eight strikes, and he gave up no runs in his start for Team No. 1. Right-hander Tomo Ohka started for Team No. 2 and gave up one run on three hits in his lone frame. Ohka threw 22 pitches -- 16 for strikes.
Pitchers Francisco Rosario, Ty Taubenheim, Casey Janssen, Ryan Houston and Blaine Neal all impressed Gibbons. They combined to throw 58 pitches, including 47 strikes.
Feeling sore: Toronto's medical staff is keeping an eye on Rios, who is battling a sore shoulder. Rios was able to play in Monday's intrasquad contest, but he served as a designated hitter. Gibbons said the injury wasn't serious.
"His arm is going to be fine in the next couple days," Gibbons said. "His right shoulder was just a little tender when he showed up to camp."
Glove man: Toronto infielder Jason Smith, who was picked up in the Rule 5 Draft in December, may have to keep a few different gloves in his baseball bag this season. Smith can play multiple infield positions, and Gibbons said the Jays aren't ruling out using him in the outfield, if needed.
"He moves around good," Gibbons said. "He's showed us that he can play some third base and some shortstop. We're going to try him a little in the outfield in some of these games, too. He could be the super utility guy."
Close call: Janssen looked good in his inning of work on Monday -- only three of his 13 pitches were balls -- but his last offering was nearly costly. McDonald hit a hard grounder that bounced off Janssen's left ankle. Janssen was immediately examined by team trainers, and was able to walk away unscathed.
On the mend: Right-hander Brandon League, who has been dealing with stiffness near his throwing shoulder, is scheduled to throw again on either Tuesday or Wednesday. League's right lat is the source of the tightness, which caused the reliever to throw from a lower arm slot in a bullpen session earlier this spring.
On deck: Toronto ace Roy Halladay threw a side session on Monday, so he won't pitch during Tuesday's games. Pitchers A.J. Burnett, B.J. Ryan, John Thomson, Josh Towers and Victor Zambrano, among others, are scheduled to pitch in the game, which has a tentative start time of 11 a.m. ET.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.