Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Jays' Snider sidelined with rib injury at spring training

Jays outfielder Travis Snider has started spring training with a rib injury, keeping him sidelined indefinitely. (J. Meric/Getty Images

Jays' Snider sidelined with rib injury at spring training

While the rest of the Toronto Blue Jays begin picking up the pace at spring training, outfielder Travis Snider is sitting on the sidelines with a tweak of a muscle in the upper ribcage area.

Manager John Farrell revealed the issue Sunday after hitters stood in for their second day of tracking pitches in the batter's box.

Snider was able to take part in that, but is unable to swing and throw until the issue settles down. There's no timeframe for his return.

"We've just been taking a very cautious approach with the idea in mind that the ultimate goal is to be ready for opening day," Snider explained. "That being said, there's no excuse for missing the work at this point in time, I'm trying to be involved right now as I can without physically being involved.

"It's unfortunate, but from a timing standpoint, time is on my side."

Snider said he suffered the tweak while golfing last week before players were due to report.

"It was a freak thing," he said. "It didn't explode on me or anything, it just got progressively worse over 24 hours, and we decided to take a cautious approach towards it."
Litsch, Reyes showing promise

Manager John Farrell watched over the bullpen sessions of his pitchers Sunday and two of them caught his eye.

Left-hander Jo-Jo Reyes, a candidate for both the starting rotation and bullpen, and right-hander Jesse Litsch, a leading contender for one of the two spots in the back of the rotation.

"Jo-Jo Reyes continues to throw the ball very well," said Farrell. "A guy who was a highly touted prospect with Atlanta before being sidetracked with a knee injury, in the early sessions he's thrown the ball very well. ...

"I thought Jesse Litsch threw the ball well today. It's become more evident, just the repair of the hip and the surgery on the elbow a couple of years ago, he's been free and easy and is throwing the ball good."
Pacing Francisco

The pace of preparations for leading closer candidate Frank Francisco is being slowed down to adjust to the right-hander's preferred buildup program.

While other pitchers threw with hitters standing in the box, Francisco threw a regular bullpen session. There's nothing physically wrong, according to manager John Farrell, and Francisco is scheduled to throw his next bullpen session Tuesday.

"While we have a schedule in place for everyone, we adjust accordingly based on the needs of the individual," said Farrell. "Frankie's been a guy who has started spring training slow and has worked into games at a pace his body is responding to. That's what we did today. He'll progress gradually. That's very much his history."