The Blue Jays will look for their fifth straight win when they take on the Phillies on Thursday night at Rogers Centre. A.J. Burnett will get the start for the Phillies opposite R.A. Dickey as the Blue Jays seek to sweep the home-and-home series.
Burnett, a former Blue Jay, has impressed so far in 2014. He allowed one run over six innings and earned the win Saturday against the Nationals to improve to 2-1 with a 2.06 ERA.
He has posted a 0.98 ERA with 25 strikeouts and five walks over his past four starts, which followed a diagnosis of an inguinal hernia. He will pitch with the ailment for the rest of the season.
"I think about it because it's there," said Burnett, who is 3-4 lifetime against the Blue Jays with a 5.64 ERA. "I was telling somebody the other day, the off-day we had, it bugged me all day. The next few days it's gone. It comes and goes. It's something I've got to deal with."
Dickey (2-3, 5.01 ERA) appears to be settling into a groove after a slow start to the season. He has recorded three consecutive quality starts but with only one win to show for it, in part because of the prolonged struggles of Toronto's bullpen.
Those were evident in his latest outing, when the 39-year-old was in line for the win while allowing three runs before the Blue Jays lost, 8-6, to the Pirates.
"It's tough, because it can really spiral on you," said Dickey, who pitched six innings in that no-decision. "That here-we-go-again syndrome, that likes to creep into the mentality, can start to set in if you're not careful. Those guys down there are really, really, really, good. So we just have to keep encouraging them, keep reminding them, keep giving them the ball, and they'll pitch out of it."
Blue Jays: Lind returns from DL
Adam Lind returned to the Blue Jays for Thursday's game. Lind, who was on the 15-day disabled list with tightness in his lower back, went 1-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored for Class A Dunedin on Wednesday and was activated on Thursday.
Lind, who normally fills the designated hitter role for Toronto, had been out of the lineup since April 15. He had been hitting .324 (11-for-34) with a home run and nine walks in 13 games. Right-hander Chad Jenkins was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo.
Phillies: Asche to see more lefties
Third baseman Cody Asche had started against left-handers just twice this season before he faced Blue Jays left-hander Mark Buehrle on Wednesday, and not once since April 4.
Expect that to change.
Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said Asche should get more action against lefties given his improved hitting. He is hitting .385 (10-for-26) with three doubles, two home runs and eight RBIs since a ninth-inning single April 24 at Dodger Stadium. His .767 OPS entering Wednesday ranked better than that of Jimmy Rollins (.758), Ryan Howard (.746), Ben Revere (.604) and Domonic Brown (.579).
• Rollins returned to the Phillies' lineup Wednesday at designated hitter. He has not started at shortstop since Sunday, when he tweaked his right groin against the Nationals. It is unclear if he will be on the field for Thursday's series finale.
• First baseman/outfielder Darin Ruf was scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Thursday with Class A Clearwater. He has been on the disabled list since the season started because of a strained left oblique.
• With his single in the seventh inning Wednesday, Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista has now reached base safely in all 34 of Toronto's games this season.
Jamie Ross is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.