Travis to Triple-A?

When he made the team out of spring training, Travis Snider was told he’d be the starting left fielder against right-handed pitchers. No doubt, manager Cito Gaston also told him to just relax and let the veterans carry the load offensively.

Accordingly, Gaston put Snider in the No. 9 hole in the batting order and hoped the youngster would enjoy hitting in a low pressure spot in the lineup. Perhaps he’d even have success and make the case to move up in the order.

BASEBALL/At first, that looked like it may be the case. Snider went 2-for-4 with a double and a home run in the season opener, a 12-5 Blue Jays win over the Tigers. A week later, the 21-year-old posted the first multi-homer game of his career, helping the Jays to an 8-6 win over the Twins on the road. After a 3-for-5 performance against the White Sox on April 24, Snider held a .310 batting average along with a .383 on-base percentage.

Since then, though, the numbers have not been pretty.

Over his last 17 games, Snider has batted just .185 (10-for-54) with no home runs and two RBIs. And just one of those 10 hits went for extra bases. Meanwhile, he recorded just two walks compared with 13 strikeouts. Dismal numbers, indeed.

Perhaps most disconcerting has been the quality (or lack thereof) of Snider’s at-bats during that stretch. The 21-year-old has been consistently behind in the count, and has been taking swings reserved for 3-1 counts during 0-2 situations.

Cito Gaston’s mantra has been to go to the plate with a plan for each at bat. Lately, it appears Snider’s plan has been to hit the long ball. But that’s not what the Jays need from him, and it’s certainly not the approach that’s going to get the youngster out of his current slump. He needs to put some good swings together.

The question is, should that be done at Triple-A?

After all, Snider has seen a lot of the bench lately as the Blue Jays have faced a plethora of left-handed pitchers over the last week. In fact, he’s only recorded at-bats in four of the Jays’ last 10 games, totalling only 12 during that time.

Looking ahead, Gaston has said that Adam Lind will play left field against the Braves in Atlanta due to the loss of the DH. And it’s likely Lind will man left in at least one of the games against the Red Sox this week. All toll, that’s a lot of pine-sitting for Snider, when he could be putting together quality at-bats in the minor leagues.

It’s also clear that Snider is losing confidence at the plate. That’s no surprise – especially for a struggling youngster. But before the 21-year-old takes a major step backwards in his development, the Jays would be wise to send their best hitting prospect down to Triple-A.

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