Pirates' Snider talks about surgery, rebuilding swing
Pirates outfielder Travis Snider revealed Wednesday he played through a more significant injury last season than was previously known, a injury to his left foot that required surgery after the season.
Snider originally thought he was playing through a strained ligament in the foot. But the 25-year-old said he had surgery two weeks after the season to remove bone spurs from the first metatarsal joint and remove the sesamoid bones from the ball of his left foot.
The injury contributed to a disappointing 2013 season as Snider batted .215 with five home runs and 25 RBI. He lost playing time in right field and missed 33 games while on the disabled list. The Pirates tendered a contract to Snider by Monday night's deadline. He is eligible for arbitration for the first time in his career.
“It was something that was diagnosed in 2012. I thought, and the doctors thought, it was a case of turf toe,” Snider said. “But over time it didn't go away. I did a bunch of different things to try and rehab that area. But at the end of the day we went into last season with a pretty good idea I was going to need that joint cleaned out.
“After Christmas I'll be at eight weeks (post surgery) and hopefully get clearance to start progressing with some physical activity.”
During exit interviews with manager Clint Hurdle and general manager Neal Huntington in mid-October, Snider was told the priority is to get his swing back to where it was when he was a top prospect with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Snider, a former first-round pick who was rated as the No. 2 Under 25 talent in the Blue Jays' system in 2011 by Baseball Prospectus, joined the Pirates in 2012 in a trade that sent pitcher Brad Lincoln to Toronto.
Snider said the injury led to him making mechanical compensations that affected his swing.
“It's going to help to have that toe repaired and to be able get my back foot (healthy), the one that rotates in the ground every time I swing,” Snider said. “That's the kind of the movement that aggravated my toe the most.”
Snider's 2014 role is unclear. He said he has not been in contact with Pirates officials about their plans for him. The Pirates are in search of left-handed production at right field and first base. The Pirates acquired another left-handed outfielder, Jaff Decker, last month from the Padres.