Adam Lind on notice after Jays sign Vladimir Guerrero

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Adam Lind hit .305/.370/.562 for the Blue Jays in 2009 and finished fifth in the AL with 35 homers and third with 114 RBI. Toronto rewarded him after that season with a four-year, $18 million contract that took him right to free agency.

So far, Lind hasn’t paid them back. The 29-year-old has hit .240/.290/.424 in 1,169 at-bats since the beginning of the 2010 season. He opened this year in the cleanup spot behind Jose Bautista, but he was dropped to eighth in Wednesday’s lineup. He’s currently hitting just .198/.283/.347 in 101 at-bats this season.

That puts the Jays in a tough spot. They’re still committed to Lind for about another $4 million this year, $5 million in 2013 and then a $2 million buyout of his 2014 option. However, he’s nothing more than a fringe platoon guy at the moment, and it’s hard to imagine that he has any trade value.

The Jays already had to be giving some thought to trying 2008 first-round pick David Cooper a look in his place. Cooper didn’t exactly thrive in his major league debut last season, hitting .211/.284/.394 in 71 at-bats, but he’s back tearing up Triple-A pitching again, albeit in a very favorable environment for offense in Las Vegas. He’s hitting .328/.398/.546 with just 13 strikeouts in 119 at-bats.

Now Toronto has another option: putting Guerrero at DH and making Edwin Encarnacion the new first baseman. It’s not an immediate solution — Guerrero is going to have to go to the minors and show that he has something left in order to earn the opportunity — but it is a pretty intriguing possibility. Personally, I like Guerrero to outperform Cooper and probably Lind as well, if he gets the chance.

Bud Norris exits outing with right knee soreness

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Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.

While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.

 

When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.

Video: Max Scherzer sets record with 13-strikeout outing

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Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.

More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.

Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)

It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.