Travis Snider gets first start of season Friday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers

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LOS ANGELES -- Travis Snider made his first start of the season Friday night, playing right field against the Los Angeles Dodgers and representing the final player in the rotation at the corners.

Snider said he wasn't concerned about the lack of starts in the opening series, saying the length of the season rendered a three-game stretch insignificant.

"The coaches have got to do the best job that they can to put together a lineup each and every day," Snider said. "For us players, we can't sit here and question, or sit here and say, this is what I would have done."

In spring training, indications were that Snider would play right field while Garrett Jones would alternate with Gaby Sanchez at first base. Sanchez hit .302 in spring training with four home runs and found himself in the lineup in each of the first three games. Jones started in right field for the first two games, and Jose Tabata started the third.

"[Jones and Sanchez] had very solid springs for me," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "I wanted to try and break out with the guys that were swinging the bat the best."

Snider, who joined the team at the 2012 trade deadline from the Toronto Blue Jays, looked forward to consistent at-bats and the chance to see regular-season pitching.

"We all want to be in there every single day, as competitors," Snider said. "But embracing whatever role we're given on each and every day is what's going to make us successful as a group and take away from that selfishness that we as players and human beings can fall into."

Hurdle spoke with Snider before the season started to inform him of the plans.

"Understanding what's happening before you walk into the locker room and see you're not in the lineup ... as a player, you appreciate that communication from the coaching staff," Snider said.

Snider also understood the moves based on his own observations.

"I watched spring training," he said. "They swung the bat really well.

"It's different being in the National League. In the American League, it's kind of set. There's not a whole lot of changing throughout the games. In the National League, things can change in the course of three innings. It makes it more exciting. As a player, if you're on the bench in the National League, there's a good chance you're going to get in there, whether it's on defense, or any way you can help the team win. For me, adjusting to the National League last season has really opened my mind to, this is a different kind of baseball from the American League. It keeps you on your toes."

Hurdle said the possibility remained that Snider could play left field against right-handers if Starling Marte got a game off, which would put all three of them on the field at the same time. He also said he would use the players' history against opposing pitchers to make matchup-based decisions, but only if the history included 15 or more at-bats.

Dodger drought

The Pirates entered the game Friday night with a six-game losing streak at Dodger Stadium. They have not won there since Sept. 15, 2011, and it took a Ross Ohlendorf home run to do so. In the Pirates' previous 20 games at Dodger Stadium, they are 4-16.

Martin returns

Catcher Russell Martin played in his first game at Dodger Stadium since August 2010. The Dodgers drafted Martin in 2002, and he played for them from 2006-10 before joining the New York Yankees.

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Bill Brink: bbrink@post-gazette.com and Twitter @BrinkPG.


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