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Lind regaining ability to get on base

Lind regaining ability to get on base

TORONTO -- Blue Jays manager John Gibbons appears to have settled on Adam Lind as his everyday cleanup hitter against right-handed pitchers.

Lind was back in the No. 4 hole for the second consecutive game Tuesday night versus Tampa Bay. The permanent move had been expected for some time, with Lind's having turned into one of the club's more reliable hitters.

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In his past 21 games before Tuesday, Toronto's designated hitter was batting .351 with three homers and a 1.076 OPS, with most of his damage coming against righties.

"Lindy's always been able to hit," Gibbons said. "He was drafted as a hitter, he always produced in the Minor Leagues, and when he got to the big leagues. He had a couple of off years, but that's the one thing he has been able to do.

"He had a good spring, and as the season's gone on, we threw him in against basically right-handers, and he has been very solid that way. He's a natural fit."

Lind has displaced J.P. Arencibia as the No. 4 hitter, while Toronto's starting catcher moves down just one slot in the order. That allows the Blue Jays to break up a string of right-handed batters while giving opposing teams a slightly different look in the heart of the lineup.

Some of the Lind's success can be credited to Gibbons' using him in a platoon, as the 29-year-old is a career .220 hitter against lefties, compared with a .289 mark versus righties. The other key to an improved season is Lind's taking a more patient approach at the plate.

Before Tuesday, the Indiana native had already drawn 18 walks this season compared with 29 total last year and 32 the year before that. A more discrete eye is something he had when coming up through the club's Minor League system, as evidenced by on-base percentages as high as .375 back in Class-A and Double-A.

The problem was that he got away from that in the Majors -- at least until the past several weeks.

"He is swinging it better than J.P. is right now," Gibbons said. "So we'll bump him in front, and then it kind of breaks up the righties a little bit, too. But he's doing a nice job, gives you a good at-bat."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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