Blue Jays sense urgency to start late-season push

Blue Jays sense urgency to start late-season push

CHICAGO -- The returns this week of Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind mean the Blue Jays no longer have any excuses in their chase for the postseason.

Toronto has spent the past six weeks without the middle of its order intact, and the repercussions of that have been felt. The current three-game series in Chicago marks the healthiest the Blue Jays have been all season.

Brett Lawrie and Brandon Morrow are still on the disabled list but aren't expected back any time soon. That means it will be up to the current group to get the job done, and those within the clubhouse feel like they have everything needed to accomplish the difficult task.

"We were in first place for a couple of months," Lind said. "Some things fell apart, but that's going to happen over the course of a season this long, but we're solid everywhere. Good staff, good bullpen, good lineup. We don't really have a great piece to anything, but we're solid across the board. Usually when that happens, you're good enough to make the playoffs."

Lind's return is just as important to the Blue Jays as Encarnacion's. The presence of both players goes a long way in helping to lengthen out a lineup that has fallen on hard times. All of a sudden, Dioner Navarro goes from a cleanup hitter to a more traditional spot lower in the order.

"With where we sit right now, we're going to have to make a run to get in the playoffs," Lind said. "Hopefully, we can do that.

"It's not a big surprise we only scored one or two runs during a game. Hopefully, with us back in the lineup, we can score more runs."

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