Pittsburgh Pirates’ Travis Snider Shows Absence Didn’t Hurt Chances to Earn RF Job

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Forget my recent criticism of the Pittsburgh Pirates for not involving Travis Snider earlier in Spring Training action, as Sinder’s performance today against the Toronto Blue Jays certainly made it seem like the Pirates knew exactly what they were doing. Snider had been sidelined presumably due to the injury to his toe, after offseason surgery was undertaken to repair the issue that plagued him for a decent portion of the 2013 season. Now, reports are surfacing that Snider also had injured himself slicing a sweet potato in mid-February. Whatever the injury was that kept him out of the Spring Training games in February, it seems to not be impacting his offensive output so far.

Snider, the 26-year-old [hopeful] starting right-fielder, had himself a day at the plate today, going 3-for-3, with a home run and three RBIs. Snider’s blast to right field came in the top of the third immediately following a Gaby Sanchez RBI double. Snider would also collect two singles on the day — one in the 1st inning and the other in the 6th inning.

On the season so far, Snider is 4-for-9 with one home run and four RBIs, and boasts a triple slash of .444/.444/.889 (yes, I realize that a triple slash doesn’t mean a whole lot with only nine at-bats, but it’s still a worthy addition to this article). Snider has also been doing a fine job of minimizing the strikeouts so far this spring, suffering only one during his first game of the season.

So, for those of you keeping score at home, Snider is having the best Spring of all candidates in [serious] contention for the starting right field job.

Recently-acquired Chris Dickerson is posing the greatest threat to Snider at this juncture, going 4-for-10 at the plate so far this spring though appearing somewhat shaky defensively in right field.

Jose Tabata and Andrew Lambo are having disappointing Springs by all accounts, with Tabata batting a dismal .154 with four strikeouts and Lambo hitting .077 with a lone hit this Spring. Of the two primary positions left to be solidified (first base), right field is the one that is most in the air at this point.

With Snider’s recent performance, though, his chances seem to be as good as any of the bunch at this point. There’s still a lot of paper to write on between now and when camp breaks, and it will be interesting to see which direction Clint Hurdle goes in.

Vinny Gala is a Pittsburgh Pirates writer for RantSports.com.  Follow him on Twitter @VinnyGala.

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