Snider finds easy fit with Blue Jays
Tigers drop 11-8 decision against Texas
Lyle Overbay’s recollections of what he was doing at age 20 do not involve his current occupation.
“Class at eight in the morning at the University of Nevada-Reno,” said the Toronto Blue Jays first baseman, who made his Major League Baseball debut at 24 but did not see regular playing time of until age 26.
Blue Jays hitting coach Gene Tenace, a star for three World Series champion teams in Oakland, was far from California, both professionally and geographically, at 20.
“In the minor leagues, struggling,” said Tenace, who was learning his craft at single-A Leesburg, Fla., in 1967.
Travis Snider — who does not turn 21 until Feb. 2 — is already Overbay’s teammate and Tenace’s pupil with the Blue Jays.
Moreover, the Kirkland, Wash., native is hitting .316 with two home runs and eight runs batted in in 12 games since making his big-league debut at New York’s Yankee Stadium before he was legally old enough to celebrate such an occasion at a New York bar.
“He seems to be totally relaxed, like he belongs here,” Tenace said. “He’s pretty advanced, which is unusual for a young kid. I think this is the real deal.”
The 2008 Blue Jays all but eliminated themselves from contention for a playoff spot this year by losing three of four games to the Boston Red Sox over the weekend.
But Snider’s six RBIs during Saturday’s doubleheader reinforced the notion that he could help change that story in 2009.
Toronto’s first-round pick in the 2006 draft started this season at single-A, playing 17 games at Dunedin.
He clubbed 17 home runs and had 67 RBIs in 98 games after being promoted to double-A New Hampshire and forced Toronto’s hand by hitting .344 in an 18-game stint with tripleA Syracuse. Texas 11 Detroit 8 Marlon Byrd’s two-run triple capped a four-run eighth-inning as the Texas Rangers downed the Detroit Tigers 11-8 in a see-saw series opener Monday night in Arlington, Tex.
After Placido Polanco’s run-scoring single in the top of the eighth broke a 7-7 tie, the Tigers unloaded on reliever Kyle Farnsworth.
Rookie catcher Taylor Teagarden, who had hit a grand slam earlier in the game, tied the contest with an RBI double. Two batters later, Michael Young ripped a line-drive single to right field to plate the go-ahead run.
Farnsworth intentionally walked MVP candidate Josh Hamilton, but Byrd answered the call with a deep triple to the right-centre field gap to give the Rangers a three-run cushion. Frank Francisco (3-5) went 11⁄ innings
3 without giving up a run to earn the victory. Farnsworth (2-3) gave up four runs, four hits and three walks in two-thirds of an inning to take the loss.
The contest was highlighted by Teagarden's first career grand slam that put the Rangers up 7-5 before the Tigers clawed their way back against Texas’ bullpen.
Teagarden made his sixth home run of the season a memorable one as he cleared the bases off Tigers reliever Gary Glover.