If Travis Snider wants to have a long and productive career as a major league hitter, he's probably going to have to buy a new set of golf clubs.

When he showed up for spring training in 2011 with the Toronto Blue Jays, Snider believed he was set for a breakout year. He had corrected flaws in his swing mechanics and was starting to smooth out the rough edges.

Snider played in a charity golf tournament then played two more rounds a couple of days later. In the process, he strained an intercostal muscle, which shut him down for two weeks.

“Swinging right-handed as a golfer and being a left-handed (baseball) hitter, you don't realize how much rotational muscle gets built up for the left-handed swing,” Snider said. “That was a wake-up call for me. Now, I try to limit my golf outings. I still tee off righty ... but I'm thinking of picking up some left-handed clubs.”

By the time Snider was healthy again, he'd lost all the progress he'd made at the plate. The Jays optioned him to Triple-A to completely rebuild his swing.

That began a two-year odyssey during which Snider spent countless hours in the cages, suffered more injuries and was traded to the Pirates. This spring — finally — Snider thinks he's ready for that breakthrough season.

“It's about coming into your own, maturing as a man and building your career,” he said. “At the end of the day, I've got to sign the check for every swing I take.”