ANDERSON — The pain of an All-Star Game snub in 2009 has lingered with Adam Lind.
The former Highland star had a breakout season for the Toronto Blue Jays that year, batting .305 with 35 home runs and 114 RBIs. He won a Silver Slugger Award and the Edgar Martinez Award in the postseason to recognize his contributions as a designated hitter.
But the All-Star Game that season was played in a National League park, and there was no DH included on the roster. As a result, Lind couldn't be voted in by the fans. And Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon — the skipper of the American League squad — repeatedly passed him over for position players.
Much has changed in the past four years.
The All-Star Game will be played next month in another National League ballpark — the New York Mets' Citi Field — but a new rule adopted in 2010 mandates the use of the DH each year no matter which league hosts the game.
Lind also is eligible now as a first baseman, having begun playing the position after a move from left field in 2010.
But one important thing is beginning to take on a very familiar feel. Lind's bat is starting to heat up again after three seasons of injuries and inconsistency.
The Blue Jays slugger is about 14 at-bats shy of eligibility for the AL batting crown, but his .344 average would rank second in the league after Monday's play.
Lind entered Monday with a .439 batting average in June, and he leads the majors in hitting since May 7. All eight of his homers and 21 of his 24 RBIs have come after the first month of the season — during which he hit a dismal .244 — and his strikeout ratio is at a career low.
"It's kinda scary, isn't it?," Lind's father, Al, said during a recent telephone interview. "He looks loose at the plate. He's getting the back spin on the ball, and he's hitting line drives."