Snider sits atop Gaston's fluid lineup

Snider sits atop Gaston's fluid lineup

NEW YORK -- The lineup sheet hanging inside the visitors' clubhouse at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday morning included a surprise: Travis Snider was hitting in the leadoff spot for the Blue Jays.

Snider has led off previously in his life -- it has just been a while.

"I was 11 years old," Snider said with a laugh.

That made Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston chuckle.

"Is that right?" Gaston said. "He must be nervous, then."

The lineup change was simply the result of Gaston's ongoing rotation aimed at spreading the playing time evenly among a handful of players. With left fielder Fred Lewis and shortstop Yunel Escobar receiving a day off, Gaston decided that Snider was the best remaining option to hit atop the order.

When Snider was recalled from a stint at Double-A New Hampshire on Friday, Gaston said he would begin rotating players in and out of the lineup. The Jays currently have a surplus of outfielders with Lewis, Vernon Wells, Jose Bautista and Snider. Bautista can also play third base (Edwin Encarnacion's position), and designated hitter Adam Lind can also play left field or first base.

Snider said he doesn't feel any pressure to perform at a high level to remain in the lineup.

"I don't really think of it like that," Snider said. "I try to look at it as an opportunity to play. Whether I'm in there or the next guy is, we're all going to be pulling for each other on the bench to get hits and to help the team win."

Since rejoining the Blue Jays, Snider entered Wednesday with a .385 average (5-for-13), including two doubles, one home run and three RBIs in five games. In his final 10 days at Double-A, Snider hit .316 with four homers and 12 RBIs, knowing that a strong showing would make it easier to convince Toronto to promote him when he was first eligible.

"It was a little bit of a wake-up call," said Snider, who had to stay at Double-A for at least 10 days after being activated from the disabled list (right wrist issue) and optioned to New Hampshire on July 17. "I didn't want to leave any reason for them to think that I wasn't ready when that time came."