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Snider returns to where career took flight

Orioles outfielder came up with Blue Jays in 2008; first game at Rogers Centre since '12 trade

TORONTO -- Travis Snider came back to where it all began Tuesday, when the Orioles opened a three-game series against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. The outfielder started his big league career with Toronto in 2008, and he was back in the city he once called home for the first time since the Blue Jays traded him to the Pirates three years ago.

"Back in TO," Snider said. "A lot of good memories here."

Snider was a first-round pick (14th overall) of the Blue Jays in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft. He made his debut at age 20, and went on to play 242 games over parts of five seasons with the club.

Looking back, Snider, now 27, said he learned a lot about himself and what it means to be a complete player at the big league level during his time in Toronto. From preparation to maturity and responsibility, to being able to deal with being demoted, he said his tenure with the club was a valuable, if at times difficult, experience.

"When you struggle, there are two ways to deal with it, and I felt I went through the negative side," he said. "I felt sorry for myself, blamed other people, and as time passes, you hope you're able to decompress. And for me, I've had a lot of time since I've been back here to decompress, cut some of those cords I dragged behind me instead of just being me, playing hard and not worrying about what happens in two weeks, two months."

Snider, who was dealt to the Pirates for reliever Brad Lincoln, played 2 1/2 seasons in Pittsburgh before being sent to the Orioles in January. With seven years of big league experience under his belt, Snider says he's a different player and person than he was when he left Toronto. But his love for the city has never wavered.

"I'll have that place in my heart, being the kid in this city, getting that experience," he said. "And whatever the fans bring tonight -- maybe they don't say anything, maybe they boo, maybe they cheer. It won't change my experience or perspective of playing here."

Jamie Ross is an associate reporter for
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