Snider starts in center for third time this year

Snider starts in center for third time this year

Snider starts in center for third time this year
ARLINGTON -- Travis Snider made his third start of the season in center field for the Blue Jays on Friday night against Texas.

Snider has spent almost his entire career playing the corner outfield positions, but Toronto continues to experiment with the 23-year-old up the middle.

The sample size is still small, but so far manager John Farrell has liked what he has seen from the Washington native.

"We've seen when he's in left field he has very good reads and routes, and those are playing out as well in his time in center field," Farrell said. "He's able to take advantage of an above-average throwing arm and accuracy with some plays he has made already. He's made that adjustment pretty darn well."

Snider got off to a slow start at the plate this season, which prompted a demotion to Triple-A Las Vegas. Since his return on July 4, he's been on a tear, hitting .333 with two home runs, 17 RBIs and nine doubles.

The fourth-year player continues to work on his new hitting mechanics at the plate, but learning a new position at the same time doesn't appear to have caused any problems.

"Since he has returned it has been a consistent approach," Farrell said. "He has covered pitches on both sides of the plate. More than anything, he feels confident in himself and his ability to not only [hit] good velocity and above-average velocity, but he's covered some pitches on the outer part of the plate by driving some balls the other way."

Snider's presence in center field meant Rajai Davis found himself on the bench despite hitting .375 (6-for-16) with a pair of RBIs in his career against Rangers starter Colby Lewis.

Farrell made the decision to sit Davis because he wanted to get as many lefties in the lineup as possible. Left-handers are batting .286 against Lewis compared to .190 for right-handers.

The lineup move also sets up Davis to come off the bench, where he has been able to use his speed in recent games. Davis came in as a reserve Tuesday night and stole three bases, and on Thursday he appeared in the seventh and proceeded to steal a base and record a double in his only at-bat.

"He has done an exceptional job," Farrell said. "When we have made that move [to pinch-run] he has taken over and had that impact, as we have all seen.

"The ability to steal multiple bases in one inning, I think there has been seven times this year where he has stolen second and third in the same inning and has scored in every one of those instances."

Farrell said he expected to start Davis on Saturday and Sunday versus Texas' Matt Harrison and Alexi Ogando.