The Blue Jays are off to a hot start, and so is their designated hitter, Adam Lind, who is cooking to the tune of .311/.383/.528 with 7 home runs and a team-leading 35 RBI. The 25-year-old native of Muncie, Indiana shared some thoughts prior to taking the field on Wednesday night.
David Laurila: You’re off to a good start with the bat this season. Why?
Adam Lind: It probably has a lot to do with experience and I’ve had some much-needed guidance from our coaching staff. Our three-headed monster is Cito [Gaston], Gene [Tenace] and Dwayne Murphy. They’ve all helped me out a great deal.
DL: Tenace, your hitting coach, was a productive hitter throughout the 1970s.
AL: Yeah, he definitely lets us know what he’s done! I had never really heard of him until he became our coach, but I’ve talked to him a lot and know a lot about him now.
DL: Drawing walks wasn’t valued nearly as highly in Tenace’s era as it is now. I recently saw a quote where Rod Carew said, “You like hitting off pitchers that are around the strike zone; you don’t have to chase bad pitches.”
AL: You know, I think the mound was higher back then and the strike zone was probably a little bigger, but that’s what this game is all about. You have to swing. We all [chase pitches out of the strike zone]. The pitchers are good up here, but you just want to limit that as much as possible. If you do that, your success will probably go up.
DL: Are you surprised that Marco Scutaro leads not only your team, but the league, in walks?
AL: No, but it seems like every game he gets a walk. He’s our leadoff hitter, so it’s part of his duty.
DL: You’re second on the Jays in walks right now, with 19.
AL: In walks? Wow. I didn’t know that. I’ve never been a guy who walks a lot. That’s mainly because I chase pitches out of the zone, I guess! Through experience, I’ve really worked on cutting down on chasing pitches in the dirt. But there are so many different types of pitches, and guys coming up from the minor leagues that you’ve never seen before and you don’t know what their pitches do.
DL: A big part of hitting is “being on time.” What does that mean to you?
AL: Pretty much, just being ready. You have to be ready mentally and physically and geared up for the fastball. You have to look for the fastball and adjust from there. Especially here, because guys throw so hard. You have to be able to hit a fastball in the big leagues.
DL: How about staying on plane, and in rhythm, with your swing?
AL: I pretty much try to keep the same swing, every day. It got me here, so it’s definitely a playable swing. As for rhythm, you don’t want to have start-and-stop motions in your swing. You want it to be one continual movement.
DL: The amateur draft is coming up in two weeks. What are your own draft memories?
AL: In 2002, the draft was the day after I graduated [from high school]. I had some fun that night and then woke up the next morning and heard a few rounds go by, so I figured I was probably going to go to college. Actually, I pretty much knew that I was going to go to college unless I went in the top four rounds. [Editor’s note: Lind was taken in the 8th round by the Twins but didn’t sign.] Then, in 2004…the draft goes so quickly that I thought I was a second-round draft pick, because they don’t say [the round]. I called my agent and he said, “No, you’re a third-round pick.”
DL: Did it matter which team drafted you?
AL: Of course, I wanted the Cubs, but you only have a one-in-thirty chance, and there are so many players around the country that you have no idea about, so you’re just happy you got selected.
DL: Are there any former Cubs you’d compare yourself to as a hitter?
AL: My favorite player was Andre Dawson. I liked Gary Gaetti, too. But I don’t know who I resemble, as a Cub, all that much. Maybe Mark Grace, because he was left-handed?
DL: What does Adam Lind like doing away from the game?
AL: I just like to hang out with my friends and my girlfriend, and I enjoy traveling. I also enjoy cooking.
DL: What interests you about cooking?
AL: Throughout the summer, or basically from February until the beginning of October — the end of October, maybe — everything is made for you, so you kind of get sick of not getting to choose what you get to eat. When I get home, especially the first month and a half, I pretty much make every meal. My girlfriend enjoys cooking, too.