LOS ANGELES -- The man who had the Pirates' right-field job to lose finally got a work shift on Friday night.
Travis Snider got his first start of the young season, in the opener of a three-game series against the Dodgers. Snider didn't get the gig because of his past success against Zack Greinke: He entered the game hitless in six career at-bats against the new Los Angeles righty. But manager Clint Hurdle was done playing the hot hands of Spring Training -- and seeing them cool off. It was a good time to return to Plan A.
"I wanted to break out with the guys who were swinging the best," Hurdle said. "And you saw what happened."
Gaby Sanchez, on the heels of hitting .302 with 11 RBIs in the Grapefruit League, started at first base in the first three games of the season, pushing Friday first baseman Garrett Jones to right field and pinch-hit duty, and Snider to the bench. But the Bucs collected a total of 13 hits in the opening three-game series against the Cubs, with Sanchez going 1-for-10.
"Travis made very good strides in Spring Training. I gave the other guys the starts, initially, now I want to get Travis involved," Hurdle said.
Hurdle was very open with Snider while omitting him from the lineup in Chicago, which the outfielder appreciated and understood.
"To understand what's happening before you walk into the locker room and see you're not in the lineup ... having that heads-up is great," Snider said. "I watched Spring Training; I saw Gaby and Garrett, the way things played out; they swung the bats real well."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.