03/25/2012 07:28 EDT | Updated 05/25/2012 05:12 EDT

Blue Jays send Travis Snider to minors for start of regular season

DUNEDIN, Fla. - Travis Snider's baseball season is going to start in Las Vegas.

The Toronto Blue Jays optioned the 24-year-old left-fielder to the triple-A Las Vegas 51s on Sunday.

"I tip my cap n hold my head high," said Snider on Twitter. "Left it all out there n will continue that same focus in Vegas. Thank u all for your overwhelming support."

Snider hit .271 with four home runs and a team-high 16 RBIs in 17 exhibition games this spring.

The move makes Eric Thames the presumptive starter in left field for Toronto on opening day.

Snider and Thames competed for a spot in left field for most of 2011. Snider began that season as starter, but struggled after hitting .182 in the first 25 games of the season. He was called back up to Toronto for 24 games and hit .260 with an OPS of .682 before being sent down to triple-A Las Vegas again.

Thames filled in for Snider in the outfield, hitting .262 with 12 homers and 37 RBIs in 95 games. This spring he's hit .333 with one home run and seven RBIs in 18 games.

First baseman David Cooper, catcher Yan Gomes, as well as shortstops Jon Diaz and Chris Woodward were also sent to minor league camp on Sunday.

The Blue Jays need to cut five more players from their roster before the start of the regular season on April 5 in Cleveland.

Veteran Omar Vizquel, Luis Valbuena and Mike McCoy are all competing for the utility infielder spot, while Dustin McGowan, Aaron Laffey and Kyle Drabek hope to claim the final spot in the starting rotation.

Prospect Drew Hutchison is still in camp but likely will not make Toronto's final rotation.