The gloves are off when it comes to the prolonged hitting slump of Adam Lind.
The Toronto Blue Jays announced on Thursday that the have optioned the struggling first baseman to their Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas.
To fill Lind’s spot in the lineup, the Blue Jays have selected the contract of Yan Gomes from Las Vegas.
Gomes will start Thursday’s game against the New York Yankees at third base in place of Brett Lawrie, who has dropped his appeal of a four-game suspension that was issued by Major League Baseball on Wednesday.
Lawrie was penalized after he rifled his batting helmet into the ground in anger after a called strike by home plate umpire Bill Miller during the ninth inning of Tuesday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays.
The batting helmet bounced up and struck Miller’s hip.
Lind, 28, has struggled since the start of the year and was batting .186 (22-118) this season in 34 games with six doubles, three home runs and 11 runs batted in.
“We just felt like obviously this would be an opportunity for him to clear his head and be in maybe an environment where he can work on things,” general manager Alex Anthopoulos said during a telephone conference call. “It’s a better environment to work in for obvious reasons.”
Lind has never lived up to the potential he showed in 2009 when he pieced together a strong season, hitting .305 with 35 home runs, 46 doubles and 114 RBIs.
For that Lind was honoured with an American League Silver Slugger Award as a DH and was also handed the Edgar Martinez Award, honouring him as the best DH in the league.
He ranked second in the league that year with 81 extra-base hits and was the first left-handed hitter to notch at least 100 RBIs in a season for the Jays since Carlos Delgado in 2003.
After that, Lind was rewarded with a new, four-year deal that guaranteed him an $18-million salary (all currency U.S.)
The deal includes three club options that could keep him in the fold through 2016.
Lind is slated to make $5-million this year and next at which time the Blue Jays can exercise the first of the three club options, which would be worth $7-million to the player.
The Blue Jays could also buy Lind out for $2-million.
Since signing the new deal, Lind’s production at the plate as been in steady decline and this year was hitting out of the cleanup spot for most of the season.
Along with the expectation of driving in runs, Lind was also supposed to provide protection hitting behind home run slugger Jose Bautista in the batting order.
“He’s not the first player to go through this,” Anthopoulos said. “We had to do this with Edwin Encarnacion two years ago. You don’t enjoy doing it as a front office or an organization.
“But sometimes these are the things that are needed.”
Gomes, 24, is set to become the first Brazilian born player to appear in a Major League game.
The native of Sao Paolo has appeared in 33 games this season for Las Vegas batting .359 (47-131) with 12 doubles, five home runs and 22 RBI.
He was Toronto’s 10th-round selection in the 2009 draft and has played nine games this year at first, 10 at third and 12 at catcher.