Snider working on swing with Murphy
Young outfielder getting used to facing lefty pitching
BALTIMORE -- Blue Jays left fielder Travis Snider sat at his locker, watching a clubhouse television that was airing Yankees starter CC Sabathia's bid for a no-hitter against the Rays.
"I've never faced him," said Snider, referring to Sabathia.
That is because the left-handed-hitting Snider rarely played against left-handed pitching last season. That has changed this year, with Snider being handed the everyday role in left field for the Jays. In the ninth inning of Friday's 7-6 win over the Orioles, Snider came through with a game-tying double off Orioles lefty Mike Gonzalez.
"Snider is going to be a big part of this organization," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. "So we've got to stick with him and give him a chance."
After opening the season by going 1-for-10 with six strikeouts over three games against the Rangers, Snider came through with a 2-for-3 showing against Baltimore on Friday. The 22-year-old Snider has been working with hitting coach Dwayne Murphy on his swing, correcting an issue the crept up recently. Snider has been flying open with his swing, causing him to be late on fastballs.
Snider said it was a "bad habit" he has fought in the past, but the left fielder added that he felt much better in Friday's game. He said he is starting to learn how to recognize when his swing starts to get out of whack during games now. Beyond his mechanics, Snider said he is trying to take a more simplified approach at the plate.
"Just get the fastball, especially against lefties," Snider said. "A lot of guys are flipping a lot of offspeed stuff, which for the most part I feel like I've been laying off of. When you're ready to hit the fastball and you get it, you want to put a good swing on it.
Hill held out of lineup, but Jays optimistic
BALTIMORE -- The Blue Jays are still optimistic about second baseman Aaron Hill's chances of avoiding a trip to the disabled list, but the team is still erring on the side of caution. On Saturday, Hill was not in Toronto's lineup for the third straight game due to a sore right hamstring.
Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said he is leaning toward having Hill sit out Sunday's series finale in Baltimore as well, giving the second baseman an extra day to possibly be ready for Monday's home opener in Toronto. Hill did not take part in pregame activities on Saturday, but Gaston said he may be cleared to field grounders and hit off a tee on Sunday.
"He's still day-to-day. He's a little bit better," Gaston said on Saturday at Camden Yards. "Every day that he doesn't play, it gets a little better, but I'm not sure if he's even going to be able to play this series. He's going to maybe do a little more tomorrow to see how he feels.
"There's a chance [Hill could play Sunday], but to actually risk him missing more days, I'd almost rather have him take it off. But, if he feels like he can play, we'll play him. I'm thinking maybe Monday, if we're lucky."
Hill, 28, injured the hamstring when he landed awkwardly during a diving play in the ninth inning of the Blue Jays' season opener in Texas on April 5. Hill played through some discomfort on Wednesday and was then scratched from the lineup for a game against the Rangers on Thursday. In two games this season, Hill has gone just 1-for-8 at the plate.
Gaston said that the Blue Jays have had to slow Hill down, because the second baseman wants to return to the lineup as soon as possible. The All-Star hoped to take part in pregame drills on Saturday, but Toronto's medical staff decided against it. The Blue Jays want to make sure Hill is back at full strength before he takes the field again.
"He's a gamer, all the way," Gaston said. "He actually feels bad, He feels like he's letting the team down by not playing. I just tell him we'd rather have him back healthy for a long period of time than a short period of time. We'll just see what happens tomorrow."
Gaston picking catcher based on matchups
BALTMORE -- Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston gave backup catcher Jose Molina the start behind the plate against the Orioles on Saturday. With a day game looming on Sunday, Gaston decided to let matchups dictate when John Buck and Molina would each start this weekend.
"I wanted to get Buck in there tomorrow," Gaston said on Saturday. "He has a little better average against the guy pitching tomorrow [Baltimore right-hander Kevin Millwood]. One of them was going to catch today and one of them was going to catch tomorrow, so it's no more than that."
Buck -- the Blue Jays' regular catcher -- has hit .438 (7-for-16) in his career against Millwood, while Molina has gone just 1-for-9 in his career against the right-hander. Gaston added that Buck would likely be behind the plate for the next six games, considering the next afternoon game is not until April 17 in Toronto.
Gaston also noted that he does not plan on having Buck or Molina matched up with specific members of the Blue Jays' starting rotation this season.
"No, I don't think it really matters," Gaston said. "I don't really want to get into that, unless I have to. I always try to steer guys away from that."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.