Jays demote Travis Snider to make room for Rajai Davis

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Apparently, Corey Patterson is a keeper.

The Jays announced after Thursday’s win over the Rangers that they’ve optioned 23-year-old Travis Snider to Triple-A Las Vegas.

Utilityman Chris Woodward was sent outright to the same club.  Rajai Davis is expected to come off the DL and reclaim his spot in center field prior to Friday’s game.

Snider was demoted despite a current five-game hitting streak that had raised his average from .159 to .184. Of course, it was about as weak as hitting streaks get, considering he didn’t have a two-hit game or an extra-base hit during the span. The Jays probably would have been more patient with him if not for the 23 strikeouts in 87 at-bats.

Overall, Snider, who debuted with the Jays as a 20-year-old in 2008, has hit .246/.313/.423 in 699 at-bats as a major leaguer. He’s shown very impressive power at times — he his six homers last September alone — but he’s had big issues making contact (203 strikeouts), and since he’s limited defensively, he’s not an asset while hitting .250, much less .180.

With Snider out of the mix, the Jays will go with Patterson and Juan Rivera in left field for now. Snider should get another chance in a month or so, but if this is a make-or-break year for him in Toronto, it’s certainly off to a rough start.

Report: Cardinals, Yadier Molina making “major progress” on contract extension

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Cardinals and catcher Yadier Molina are making “major progress” on a contract extension. Molina told the team he won’t discuss an extension during the season, hence the rapid progress.

Molina is entering the last guaranteed year of a five-year, $75 million contract signed in March 2012. He and the Cardinals hold a mutual option worth $15 million with a $2 million buyout for the 2018 season. The new extension would presumably cover at least the 2018-19 seasons and likely ’20 as well.

Molina is 34 years old but is still among the most productive catchers in baseball. Last season, he hit .307/.360/.427 with 38 doubles, 58 RBI, and 56 runs scored in 581 plate appearances. Though he has lost a step or two with age, Molina is still well-regarded for his defense. The Cardinals also value his ability to handle the pitching staff.

Sandy Leon homered twice in one inning, including a grand slam

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Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon achieved a rare feat during Monday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition against the Orioles: he homered twice in one inning. One of those homers happened to be a grand slam.

Leon led off the top of the fifth inning with a solo home run off of Logan Verrett. Verrett continued to get knocked around, giving up three singles and a walk before being relieved by Brian Moran. Moran gave up a walk to load the bases, then a single to knock in a run and keep the bases loaded. Leon stepped back to the plate and swatted a grand slam to left field, making it an eight-run fifth for the Red Sox. The Sox would tack on one more before the inning was mercifully ended.

How often do players homer twice in one inning during the regular season? Not that often. Since 2010, the feat has been accomplished four times in the American League and twice in the National League. The Orioles’ Mark Trumbo was the only one to do it last year.

As for Leon, he’s on track to open the season as the starting catcher in Boston, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reported last week.