A tantalizing Travis Snider homered against the Pirates on Wednesday and threw out another base runner, his third assist of the spring. A day earlier, however, he struck out three times against the Phillies and left my sun-tanning Blue Jays friends (hey, there, nice to finally meet you) shaking their heads in Dunedin, Fla. After the game, I talked with Snider about his evolving swing and the ongoing quest to find his timing -- and the battle with Eric Thames. It's early, I know, and spring training is all about regaining your rhythm at the plate. There's another hitting coach in the picture, too. Snider is focusing on quieting his hands, seeing the ball deeper into the strike zone and "not pulling off" breaking pitches. We chatted for 10 minutes on the topic. Before turning on my voice recorder, I asked him why his swing has a tendency to be late to contact.
"You said it, the timing. In the past, I've had a lot move movement," he said. "I've started simplifying things with my hands and my 'gather' or 'load.' There are different ways to describe it, but it's all about making sure I'm on time to recognize the pitch, make the proper adjustment if necessary and hit the baseball." ... We talked about today's swing compared, to say, 2009:
"I started off mechanically great (in 2009) and fell off and got into some bad habits. Ever since then, it's been a matter of trying to figure out what's going to work for the long term instead of trying to find a Band-Aid to fix it," he said. "The biggest difference, I'd say, is where I start my hands and simplifying the movement and not having so much room to travel with my hands and getting into slot ... I'm working on waiting back on off-speed (pitches) without completely pulling off the baseball." ... Here's a look at one swing sequence against the Phillies: