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09/22/10 7:37 PM ET

Snider still has room to improve on defense

TORONTO -- Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston believes Travis Snider has room to improve on defense, and he is holding out hope that the young outfielder will continue to make strides as he gains more experience in the field.

Gaston said one key is for Snider to realize there are times when going full bore is not necessary.

"The more he plays," Gaston said, "the more he's going to understand that you can't make every play. You have to give in sometimes to a guy. It's a double, throw the ball to third base, or, 'I'm not going to catch this ball, but I'm going to keep it from going for a double.'

"I think the more he plays out there, hopefully, he's going to get it. If he doesn't get it, then he's going to have a problem."

Gaston's comments come one day after Snider misplayed a fly ball.

In the ninth inning of the Jays' 5-3 win over the Mariners on Tuesday, Snider charged in from left field on a fly ball off the bat of Matt Tuiasosopo. Toronto shortstop Yunel Escobar was camped under the ball ready to make the catch, but moved away with Snider sprinting in. The ball dropped to the turf and the play eventually led to a Seattle run.

"That was my mistake the whole way," Snider said after the game. "That's something that has to get better."

Gaston, who added that Snider also needs to work on hitting his cutoff man more often, said it was hard to get mad at the left fielder for his effort. That said, Gaston felt Snider should have pulled up and let Escobar make the play.

"You can't get upset with him, because he was hustling hard," Gaston said. "On the other side of it, you've got to be smart. Escobar was standing under the ball and Snider had to come a long way. He has to learn that [he doesn't] have to catch every ball out here."

Gaston receives unexpected salute at airport

TORONTO -- Cito Gaston received an unexpected welcome when the Blue Jays' team charter landed at Toronto's Pearson International Airport after a flight home from Boston on Sunday night.

After the Blue Jays' plane landed, a pair of firetrucks was situated on opposite sides of the runway. The trucks sent two blasts of water arcing over the plane while it made its way to the airport, honoring Gaston for all he has done for the city and the Blue Jays organization.

"It was awesome," said Gaston, who is retiring from managing at the end of the season. "The rescue squad out there did that. I got a chance to shake the guy's hand who was in charge of it. That was great to see. There were a lot of lights flashing and they shot it right over the plane."

Known as a water salute, the tribute is typically reserved for retiring pilots or the first or final flight of an airline, along with other notable events. In Gaston's case, it was designed to recognize his accomplishments as manager of the Blue Jays, who have won more than 900 games and two World Series titles with him at the helm.

"It meant a lot to me," Gaston said. "It showed me how people appreciate what I've done here. But, I don't like to say it's just what I've done. I'd like to give it to all the players that I've had here. Without them, I couldn't have done what we've done here."

Jays have lived by the home run this season

TORONTO -- Heading into this season, Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston often pointed to power as his team's best weapon. With less than two weeks left in the regular season, Gaston was right on in his early assessment.

Entering Wednesday, Toronto ranked first in the Major Leagues with 232 home runs, including an MLB-best 96 in the second half. The Blue Jays also headed into the day needing 12 blasts over their final 12 games to equal the franchise record of 244, which was set in 2000.

"That's almost the way I said the team was going to be," Gaston said. "Sometimes you live by the home run, but you can die by it, too. We've played pretty good with it, to be honest with you.

"Seventy-six wins is something that a lot of people didn't think we were going to win. I never had any doubt that we'd win that many games. I just thought that we had to win it in the matter that we have won."

In Tuesday's 5-3 win over the Mariners, the Blue Jays launched three home runs. Within that outburst, Travis Snider belted his 10th of the season, giving the team nine players with at least 10 long balls on the year. That equals a franchise record that has been accomplished six times.

Jays unveil R. Howard Webster Award winners

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays unveiled their 2010 class of R. Howard Webster Award winners on Wednesday, honoring the most valuable player at each of the organization's Minor League affiliates.

Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia earned the Webster for his work this season with Triple-A Las Vegas. Arencibia -- named the Most Valuable Player of the Pacific Coast League this season -- hit .301 with 32 home runs and 85 RBIs. The 24-year-old catcher made both the PCL's midseason and postseason All-Star teams as well.

Other recipients included: Double-A New Hampshire outfielder Eric Thames (.288 average, 27 homers, 104 RBIs); high Class A Dunedin first baseman Mike McDade (.267, 21, 64); low Class A Lansing infielder Sean Ochinko (.311, eight, 65); short-season Class A Auburn catcher Carlos Perez (.298, two, 41); Gulf Coast Rookie League outfielder Jake Marisnick (.253, four, 26); and Dominican Summer League pitcher Ererys Guerrero (1-2 with a 3.23 ERA in 13 games).

Perez, who also earned Websters in 2008 and '09, became only the fourth player in Blue Jays history to win three or more of the awards. Ochinko, who took home the honor last season as well, is the 23rd player in club history to pick up two or more Webster Awards.

Bird feed

The Blue Jays have honored Tim Rooney with the 2010 Al LaMacchia Award, which is given annually to the amateur scout that exemplifies the work ethic and perseverance best demonstrated by the long time Blue Jays executive for whom the award was named. ... The Jays have named Kevin Briand the club's 2010 Pro Scout of the Year. ... Minor League roving pitching coach Dane Johnson is the 2010 recipient of the Bobby Mattick Award for excellence in player development. ... The Jays have honored Matt Daly with the 2010 Community Service Award. Daly was heavily involved in community initiatives in Dunedin, Fla. ... On Tuesday, Blue Jays closer Kevin Gregg notched his 34th save of the season. That represents the fifth-highest single-season total in team history and marks the most since B.J. Ryan saved 38 games in 2006. ... Entering Wednesday, the Blue Jays led the Majors with a home run differential of +92 (232 homers launched compared to 140 allowed). The Red Sox (197/137) rank second with a +60 home run differential.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.