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Blue Jays beat, 5/13

May 13, 2011

Lind scratched from lineup with back soreness

By Jordan Schelling / MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS — Originally expected back as the Blue Jays’ designated hitter, Adam Lind was scratched from the lineup after feeling soreness in his back Friday afternoon.Lind, who has been out with a lower back injury since leaving Saturday’s game against the Tigers in the seventh inning, did some early work at Target Field before the club’s series opener with the Twins. During that work, Lind’s injury started to bother him again.

“He went through some on-field activity, took some ground balls and started to feel some soreness in the left side of the lower back when he was running the bases,” said manager John Farrell. “A little bit more of the pounding sensation that was starting to generate that, so we decided to scratch him.”

With Lind unavailable, Farrell was forced to shuffle his lineup, moving Juan Rivera from first base to designated hitter, Edwin Encarnacion to first base and putting John McDonald in at third. Lind’s absence from the lineup also left the Blue Jays with a thin bench once again, as David Cooper and Jose Molina were the only two available.

Farrell also noted that while Lind was coming off two good days of work, Lind’s return Friday would have been ahead of schedule.

“We felt all along that if we got him back in the lineup by Monday, that still gave us seven more days of activity rather than the two weeks on the DL,” Farrell said. “So we’re day to day. Until something else happens that we have to make a roster move or react to whatever might take place, we’ll address it at that time.”

Nix making progress, could return Monday

MINNEAPOLIS — Second baseman Jayson Nix could rejoin the Blue Jays on Monday in Detroit, manager John Farrell said before Friday’s game against the Twins.

After being rained out Thursday in Fort Myers, Fla., Nix began a rehab assignment with Dunedin, the Blue Jays’ Class A Advanced affiliate. Dunedin played a doubleheader against the Fort Myers Miracle, the Twins’ affiliate in the Florida State League.

“He had early work [Thursday], everything was progressing fine,” Farrell said. “We expect him to get the next three days with Dunedin, and then the potential of returning to us on Monday in Detroit is a real possibility.”

Hentgen mourns death of mentor Queen

MINNEAPOLIS — In the first year that Mel Queen was the Blue Jays’ pitching coach, Pat Hentgen had the best year of his career and won the American League Cy Young Award.

It was no coincidence, said Hentgen, the three-time All-Star, World Series winner and current Blue Jays bullpen coach.

“He taught me how to cut the ball, to throw a cut fastball,” Hentgen said. “He said the first couple starts if I didn’t have good command of my curveball, it’d be a rough grind for me. He said, ‘Why don’t you try throwing a little bit of a cutter or a true slider on days when you can’t throw your hook?’ And I went on to have the best year of my career.”

With Queen’s guidance, Hentgen won 20 games in 1996, with a 3.22 ERA and 177 strikeouts. His was the first of three consecutive AL Cy Young Awards won by the Blue Jays, with the latter two belonging to Roger Clemens.

Queen made a big impact on a number of Blue Jays during his time with the club. Among the bigger names to come through Toronto during Queen’s time there were Shawn Green, Carlos Delgado, Chris Carpenter, Roy Halladay, Woody Williams, Todd Stottlemyre and David Wells.

Not only did Queen help them on the field, he also made it clear that he cared about the players off the field as well.

“He just had a great way of communicating and making you feel confident,” Hentgen said. “I think he cared more about us off the field than he did on the field, and I think that’s one of the things as a player you really tend to respect a lot from a coach or a manager, is that they care about you as a person first and a player second.”

Hentgen, who was very close to Queen, reflected on their relationship before Friday’s game, in light of Queen’s death Friday morning. As important as Queen was to his career, Hentgen valued their friendship even more.

“Great coach, great communicator and a true friend,” Hentgen said. “Many times I spent fishing with him up at my place north of Peterborough, and it’s unfortunate, I lost a great friend.

“Lots of great stories, lots of fun, I’ll always remember him.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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