By Pete Borkowski
DUNEDIN, Fla. – Even though the Toronto Blue Jays are a franchise in need of left-handed pitchers, Kirby Snead is not rushing his own development in order to force his way on to the big club.
The 24-year-old relief pitcher, who spent most of 2018 with the double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats, wants to, as he put it, "just take it a day at a time."
Snead was drafted by the Jays in 2016 and has made steady progress, jumping between the single-A squads in Dunedin and Lansing in his first year before cementing a spot with New Hampshire last season.
"I’m not really too worried about where I end up right now," he said in an interview at the Bobby Mattick Training Center. "Obviously, everyone would say they’d love to end up in Toronto. For me, I’m just trying to take it day by day and enjoy the moment.
"Whatever happens, happens."
That’s not to say the Alachua, Fla., native is only thinking about where he is now. After finishing the 2018 season without allowing a run over 4.1 innings in his final four games, he still knows there is room to improve.
The lefty appeared in 44 games in 2018, 36 of them with the Fisher Cats. He pitched 42.2 innings with a 3.88 ERA, striking out 51 and walking 31.
"Last year I kind of struggled with walks and it hurt me with giving up runs and stuff," he said. "I think if I’m consistent and I just take every day just for itself and just try to be the best I can that day, everything will work out."
Day-to-day, he brings the same mentality.
While sitting in the bullpen on game day, Snead is "just relaxing, trying to watch the game, see what the other team is doing or how the hitters are, but most of all just trying to relax."
This is the key for him.
"If you just relax and just play your game everything will work out."
Even once the call comes, the lefty keeps calm.
Getting ready to enter the game, he said "not too much" is going through his head.
"I’m just trying to see where we are at in the game, just trying to get my mind right, ready to pitch."