Travis Snider had surgery on his left big toe that forced him to the disabled list for more than a month this past season, Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said Wednesday.
"In our mind that impaired his ability to keep a mechanically sound swing last year," Huntington said. "It was bothering him longer than just the time we DL'd him in August."
Snider went on the disabled list July 28 and did not return until Sept. 1.
Snider, 25, hit .215 with a .281 on-base percentage and five home runs, and his production dropped sharply after April. He received only 285 plate appearances due to both the injury and the addition of Marlon Byrd near the end of the season.
Snider had the surgery about two weeks after the season ended, more than a year after he initially began feeling pain.
"It was something that came up in 2012 after I got traded, in September, and was thought to be a turf toe-type situation," Snider said Wednesday in a phone interview. "Over the course of the offseason, it just never healed."
A magnetic resonance imaging exam in January revealed bone spurs in the toe, he said, but he opted to try everything else so as to avoid surgery and stay on the field.
The surgery cleaned out the bone spurs and removed the sesamoid bone, then was broken and re-aligned with the first metatarsal, a bone in the foot behind the big toe.
"That bone was starting to move away from the rest of my foot and causing an angle in my big toe that was putting discomfort on the joint," Snider said. "Everything was kind of centered around that joint."
Snider expects to be ready by spring training. He is six weeks removed from surgery and said he will increase his physical activity between weeks eight and 10 of that process. In January, he will increase physical therapy and add muscle activation therapy.
The Pirates tendered Snider, who is eligible for salary arbitration for the first time, a contract for 2014.
"For the dollar, and for where this market is going, we felt like it was a worthwhile opportunity to retain a player that we still feel has upside and adds to our depth of options in right field," Huntington said.
Bill Brink: email@example.com and on Twitter @BrinkPG.