Blue Jays' Lind showing no rust in return from injury

By Frank Pingue

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto Blue Jays cleanup hitter Adam Lind is making up for lost time since returning to the lineup after a back injury interrupted his dazzling start to the Major League Baseball season.

Lind has been splitting his playing time between first base and designated hitter to avoid a repeat of back woes, but his hot bat may find him playing the infield more regularly when interleague play begins this week.

Since designated hitters are not used in National League ballparks, the American League Blue Jays are expecting to use Lind more at first base when they begin a nine-game road trip in National League parks starting Friday.

"However when we get into interleague play and get on the road in National League parks, provided that he feels fine, what his bat means to the middle of the order, we may look to put him at first base a little more regularly."

Lind, who hit a walk-off homer in Tuesday's 6-5 win over the Orioles, bats cleanup behind reigning home run king Jose Bautista, giving the Jays a power-packed middle of the lineup when both are healthy.

Lind spent the off-season preparing for a switch from the designated hitter position to an everyday first baseman, but the extra workload he endured took its toll just over a month into the season.

So after a strong start to the year when he was hitting .317 with seven home runs in his first 32 games, Lind was forced out of the Blue Jays lineup.

But not even a layoff of nearly a month could cool Lind's bat as the 27-year-old continues to pulverize opposing pitchers since coming off the disabled list on June 4.

Entering Wednesday's game against the Orioles, Lind is batting .400 with 12 RBIs and five home runs in the 10 games since his return.

"You see the swings and the aggressiveness of the swings at the plate, it doesn't show any restriction in the low back or any tightness there," said Farrell. "Physically he feels fine, but what he means as far as the middle of the order presence is outstanding."

(Editing by Julian Linden)