The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Pro Sports

March 24, 2014

Momentum swinging in Lind's favor

ANDERSON — The beard is, in fact, the source of some disagreement.

"My wife doesn't like it at all," Adam Lind admits during a cellphone interview from Florida. "The kids? I don't know how they feel about it. They like to pull on it."

The Toronto Blue Jays first baseman began growing a full beard last July. When it became too uncomfortable to maintain during the hot offseason in the Sunshine State, he shaved it down to a goatee.

Now that the 30-year-old father of two has gotten off to a successful spring training start, the long and bushy facial hair could be in for an extended stay.

Lind is hitting .386 with one home run and seven RBIs through 15 Grapefruit League games. If the numbers fall off when the regular season starts, the Highland graduate might finally consider taking a razor to the beard.

"If you're not hitting, you've gotta blame it on something," he said and then laughed.

The jovial nature is one sign things are going well. But the line drives spraying off his bat to all fields are better.

When he's in a groove at the plate, Lind pounds the outfield walls with the baseball. So far this spring, eight of his 17 hits have been good for extra bases — including seven doubles in 47 plate appearances.

It's the continuation of a strong trend from 2013, when Lind had 50 extra-base hits (23 homers, 26 doubles and one triple) and his .288 batting average was his best since 2009. Lind's .357 on-base percentage and .497 slugging percentage also were highs since that Silver Slugger season, and his 143 games played were the most since 2010.

The Blue Jays liked what they saw enough to quickly pick up the first of three option years in his contract, but trade rumors swirled around Lind throughout the offseason. The Pittsburgh Pirates, coming off their first playoff appearance since 1992, reportedly were among the more interested parties.

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