Pirates GM: “Very probable” Chris Snyder will start year on DL

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General manager Neal Huntington admitted yesterday that it’s “very probable” starting catcher Chris Snyder will begin the season on the disabled list due to back soreness.

Pittsburgh unsuccessfully tried to dump Ryan Doumit and his contract all offseason and throughout spring training, but Snyder’s injury actually opens the door for him to see some early action if manager Clint Hurdle is willing to use him behind the plate.

Doumit could split time at catcher with Jason Jaramillo until Snyder returns and Jenifer Langosch reports that John Bowker will take the open roster spot while replacing Doumit as a backup outfielder.

And if Doumit gets off to a good start offensively while not looking like a complete mess defensively, perhaps the Pirates will have an easier time unloading his contract once Snyder returns.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.