Results tagged ‘ Chris Snyder ’

D-backs close to dealing Snyder

NEW YORK — The D-backs have agreed on a trade late Friday night that would send catcher Chris Snyder to the Pirates pending approval by the commissioner’s office according to a baseball source.

It is not clear what the D-backs would get in return or how much money is changing hands in the deal, but that is what would have to be approved by Major League Baseball.

Snyder is due $5.75 million next year with a club option worth $6.75 million for 2012 with a $750,000 buyout.

Snyder is hitting .231 with 10 homers and 32 RBIs in 65 games this year.

It’s been quite a change of direction for the club with regards to Snyder. Following the 2008 season, the club inked him to a contract extension and he looked like their catcher going forward.

A back injury, though, sidelined him two months into the 2009 season and Miguel Montero filled in for him and was so impressive with the bat that Snyder was relegated to a backup role.

More moves likely for D-backs

The D-backs are likely not done dealing yet. The team would still like to move catcher Chris Snyder and reliever Chad Qualls and are open to dealing first baseman Adam LaRoche.
 
In addition, they will listen to offers on right-hander Edwin Jackson, who will be a free agent after the 2011 season.

“If we could get a player back that could help at the Major League level immediately as well as help restock the farm system we would listen,” Hall said of a possible Jackson deal.

As of Monday afternoon, though, there had been no discussions of a three-team deal for Jackson involving the White Sox and the Nationals.

Saturday’s wrapup on the D-backs

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TODAY’S STORIES:

Chris Snyder feels he has something to prove this year.
D-backs beat the Dodgers, 7-3, in front of a sellout crowd at TEP.
Walks hurt RHP Kevin Mulvey on Saturday.

CLOSE CALL: The competition for the final spot on the bench is starting to really heat up for the D-backs.

“It’s nice when the plot thickens a little bit,” D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said. “We still have a lot of time left so there’s plenty of time for further evaluation, but to have them playing crisply is good to see.”

Tony Abreu, Jeff Bailey, Cole Gillespie and Rusty Ryal have all impressed in various ways. At the start of camp it looked like Abreu and Ryal would be the main the combatants given that the team probably would not want to carry five outfielders (Gillespie) or a another first baseman (Bailey).

It’s still doubtful that they will carry someone whose primary position is first base, but Gillespie may make them reconsider carrying five outfielders.

“It’s interesting how guys can change your mind or push to make rosters,” Hinch said. “I think with our roster and the flexibility we have it’s not inconceivable that we wouldn’t carry five outfielders. Gillespie is making a great impression.”

Acquired in the deal that sent Felipe Lopez to Milwaukee last July, Gillespie has hit the ball well — he tripled in his one at-bat Saturday to raise his average to raise his spring average to .316. In addition he’s shown that he can play all three outfield positions rather than just the corners, which adds to his value.

Abreu and Ryal have both played extremely well. Saturday it was a back and forth between the two with Abreu, who is hitting .478, tripling home a pair of runs in the fifth and Ryal coming back with a homer one inning later.

Ryal, who raised his average to .250 with a pair of homers, also made a nice diving stop at third and has shown he can play second, first and left field as well.

“Ryal’s diving play at third was nice to see,” Hinch said.

Abreu has already proved he could play second, short and third this spring.

“Abreu continues to impress at short,” Hinch said.

There’s still three weeks left and it will likely come down to what skill set Hinch wants in that final spot. Does he want a versatile middle infielder like Abreu? Or with Augie Ojeda already filling that role does Hinch want someone with a little more pop in his bat like Ryal? Or does Gillespie play so well that he forces them to carry a fifth outfielder?

Stay tuned. This could get real interesting.

WEBB UPDATE: Brandon Webb played catch again Saturday and there seems to be some encouragement building in him as well as Arizona officials.

“He feels great,” Hinch said. “I think the three or four day blow that we gave him was what he needed. He’s showing some more life in his arm. The good thing is he’s progressing at a more accelerated pace.”

Webb threw a few breaking balls, something Hinch took as a very positive sign though there is still no timetable for him to get into a Cactus League game.

“Hopefully sometime in the next week I’d certainly would hope to get him back up on the mound and get him back on his program of bullpens and whatever’s next,” Hinch said.

And let’s stop waiting for the D-backs to come out and say he’s going to start the season on the disabled list — Hinch gets asked that question every day — and just accept that he will not be making the start the third day of the season as originally hoped.

The D-backs will not need a fifth starter until April 17 so it will be interesting to see whether they decide to just carry four starters until then and if Webb could possibly be ready for that start.

“If he’s not going to make the third start of the season when is that next start going to come?” Hinch said. “I don’t know. But what I do know is as soon as he’s ready we want him in our rotation. But until then we’re going to compete and expect to win so when he does get back he’s a great addition to our team.

NO PLAYING GAMES WITH KENNEDY: With Ian Kennedy only throwing 23 2/3 innings during the regular season last year — plus another 29 2/3 in the Arizona Fall League — Hinch was asked Saturday if the team might delay the start of Kennedy’s season a little to help keep his inning total down.

“We won’t be interested in delaying the start of his season on purpose,” he said.

Instead, the team will monitor him throughout the season and if necessary give him an extra day here and there. Hinch, though, said the team expects between 160-180 innings from Kennedy, typically what a No. 4 or 5 starter throws.

TITLES: Hinch does not want to say yet whether Bob Howry or Juan Gutierrez will be the primary setup man to closer Chad Qualls.

“It’s a little early to worry about that yet,” Hinch said. “[Gutierrez] will pitch in important innings, though, that’s how I would title it.”

BACK: Outfielder Chris Young, who left the team for a few days due to a death in his family, was back in the lineup Saturday.

March 11 Wrap

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Here’s a look at today’s stories: A Brandon Webb update, D-backs sign or renew all 22 pre-arbitration players and beat the Angels 4-1.

Really there’s nothing new in the Webb story, nothing that has not been obvious for the better part of the last week and that is that it is unlikely that he will be able to start the third game of the season.

Now look, that doesn’t mean that he won’t be able to start soon after that, it doesn’t mean there’s something further wrong with his shoulder and it certainly is not time to panic about his availability for the long haul of the season.

The man is recovering from shoulder surgery. He had not thrown off a mound for the better part of 11 months. There were bound to be some hiccups along the way. This was never going to be smooth sailing.

Let’s see what happens over the next week or so. It sure sounds like he just needs to get over the hump or plateau that he’s at right now (and by the way I’ve used the word “stagnant” in my stories more in the past week than I previously had used in my entire career). If he’s able to get over that hump/off that plateau/unstagnanted it could be a quick progression for him. If not…well there’s plenty of time to delve into what that means for the team.

I know that GM Josh Byrnes told The Arizona Republic in December “I don’t think there’s any scenario where it doesn’t go well for him and we’re able to overcome that.” But keep in mind that was before the team signed second baseman Kelly Johnson, reliever Bob Howry and first baseman Adam LaRoche so I’m not sure that quote is operative any longer.

Am I saying the D-backs are going to win the NL West without Webb pitching well for most of the season? No. But then again I’m not sure they win the division even with him pitching well for most of the season.

What I am saying is there is a chance they win the division with him and there’s a chance they win it without him. Surely his health will be a big factor, but there are lots of others.

Anyway, that’s more than enough about Webb for one day. Let’s take a look at some other things to come out of the game today:

– You can’t help but be impressed so far with Edwin Jackson. He threw a solid three innings today and was so efficient he had to go down to the bullpen to throw 15 more pitches so he would reach his pitch count for the day.

“Nasty stuff,” catcher Miguel Montero said about Jackson.

“Still trying to work on things,” Jackson said. “Still fine tuning.”

– Reliever Leo Rosales has looked really good this spring. The right-hander allowed a home run to Mike Napoli (what else is new, Napoli has three homers already this spring) but in two spring outings he’s retired six of the seven batters he’s faced.

“Leo’s thrown the ball well,” D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said.

Rosales kind of flew under the radar a bit last year — he pitched better than you think — and is out of Minor League options. It would not surprise me in the least if he makes the team out of Spring Training.

– Tony Abreu = en fuego.

Abreu started at third Thursday so if you’re keeping track at home he’s played second, short and third this spring. He was 2-for-3 with a double and a couple of plays in the field.

“Abreu continues to shine,” Hinch said.

Spent some time talking with Abreu after the game and it’s clear he’s feeling very confident and realizes the opportunity that he has to make this team.

– Chris Snyder hit his first home run of the spring, but more importantly has now played three days in a row — catching, dhing and catching — and has not had any issues with his surgically-repaired back.

– Aaron Heilman, who looked shaky in his first outing of the spring looked sharp striking out a pair in one inning. Since allowing four runs in one inning last Friday against the Cubs, the right-hander has allowed one hit in two innings.

Wednesday wrapup

Here’s a link to today’s story in which Stephen Drew opens up about some of the off-field struggles he went through in 2009. It’s early in spring, but he’s really swung the bat well thus far.

Also did a short story on the debut of first-round pick A.J. Pollock.

– Bizarre happening during today’s game when there was a snafu with the Dodgers lineup. You can read Doug Miller’s story about it.

– Dan Haren was pleased with his outing today against the Dodgers. The right-hander gave up four hits over 2 2/3 innings and wanted to finish the third, but he had reached his pitch count so manager A.J. Hinch took him out in favor of Bob Howry.

Haren threw his first split-finger fastballs of the spring during the outing.

“Last time out I felt OK but I didn’t feel great,” said Haren, who threw 49 pitches. “I felt the ball was coming out of my hand a little better today. I used more off-speed stuff. And my fastball felt like it had a little bit of life to it. I’m still not out there max effort but overall I felt really good.”

– Another positive was the performance of closer Chad Qualls, who thus far this spring has not shown any ill effects from last season’s knee injury/surgery.

Qualls got all three batters he faced in the fifth to ground out.

“When Qualls is getting groundballs he’s right where he needs to be,” Hinch said.

– Hinch said before the game that he plans on having Chris Snyder and Miguel Montero catch back-to-back games over in Minor League camp before they do it in Cactus League games.

For right now, Hinch has alternated using the pair behind the plate and at the DH spot so that they can keep sharp at the plate without being taxed behind it.

– Gerardo Parra started in center against the Dodgers, something you could see a lot of this spring. Depending on who wins the final bench spot, Parra could wind up being the lone backup to Chris Young at that position.

Two players battling for the final roster spot — Drew Macias and Cole Gillespie — can both play center.

Notes from Friday’s game

Hard to know what was the bigger news today. On the one hand you had D-backs GM Josh Byrnes saying that it was possible Brandon Webb would start the year on the DL and then there was Mark Reynolds saying that talks on a possible contract extension were a distraction.

Here are a look at a few other notes from the day:

NICE START: Dan Haren tossed a pair of hitless innings against the Cubs, allowing just one walk while throwing 20 pitches.

A 1-2-3 quick first inning raised some concerns in the Arizona dugout that he might not get up to his pitch count in his two scheduled innings.

A walk to begin the second, though, allowed him to throw some extra pitches.

“It feels weird, it’s been a long time,” Haren said of getting back out on the mound. “To go out there and compete again is nice. I’ve got a long ways to go, but I’m happy with the way it started. I don’t necessarily put in 100 percent effort, I’m working more mechanics and you know getting a feel for all my pitches. I’m definitely where I want to be, but that being said I still have a long way to go.”

Haren threw some fastballs, cutters and curves, but did not throw his split.

“I’ll definitely throw a few next time and keep working on it on the side,” Haren said. “The goal is by the time April rolls around to have all my pitches feel crisp and ready.”

KEEP AN EYE ON HIM: I still think Rusty Ryal has a real good shot of winning that final spot on the bench. Hinch plans on playing him at second and third and he showed during a stint in the Dominican Republic during the winter that he could play left field.

Ryal’s versatility plus the pop he has in his bat should play in his favor.

“I don’t know if anybody outworks him,” D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said. “He’s just continued to get better and improve himself at the plate. His strike zone discipline has gradually gotten better, the authority with which he swings the bat has gotten better. He’s forced himself onto the map as far as being an offensive threat at the Major League level. For him now exposing him at different defensive spots is going to be important to have him make the team and if continues to advance offensively you’ve got a nice player on your hands.”

NOW PLAYING SHORTSTOP: When he was acquired last year, Tony Abreu was expected to be the team’s starting second baseman in 2010. Then Kelly Johnson was non-tendered by the Braves and those plans changed.

Now Abreu finds himself competing for the final spot on the bench as a utility infielder. With that in mind, look for him to see some time at short and third as well as second this spring. He started at shortstop Friday against the Cubs and also played there in relief of Stephen Drew on Thursday.

“I’m interested to see how he looks at shortstop,” Hinch said. “He hasn’t played a ton of shortstop. It’s what he’s played the least. Part of the early part of spring is exposing to these guys to maybe a little bit of outside their comfort zone and see how they respond.”

THAT’S MORE LIKE IT: The D-backs played a much crisper game defensively against the Cubs after a sloppy 11-1 loss to the Rockies on Thursday.

“I think yesterday’s game was a little disappointing for everyone to be honest with you,” Haren said. “Not that we’re necessarily trying to win or lose, but we’re not trying to lose that’s for sure. Last spring we didn’t really play that well and I think it kind of trickled into the season. [Today] has been a pretty clean game and that’s more of the game we’re trying to play.”

BACK IN ACTION: Catcher Chris Snyder saw his first action since having surgery on his back last September. Snyder caught four innings.

“He came out of hit fine and he’ll catch again Sunday,” Hinch said.

GAME NOTES: Center fielder Gerardo Parra made a nice throw in the bottom of the fifth to nail a runner trying to tag up from third in the bottom of the fifth.

Justin Upton blasted a grand slam off the scoreboard in the fifth.

“I thought that was going over the scoreboard,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said of Upton’s homer. “That’s a long wallop. Upton is going to hit a home run off anybody.”

Ryan Roberts and Cole Gillespie also homered for the D-backs.

It was a rough day for Aaron Heilman, who allowed four runs on five hits in one inning of work.

By contrast young hurlers Wes Roemer, Jordan Norberto and Bryan Shawn all pitched well.

Monday notes from D-backs camp

Today’s main story was on Chris Young and all the work he put in during the offseason.

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– There was plenty of sun Monday, but the weather still delayed things as the D-backs had to wait more than an hour to get started in the morning due to wet fields.

“We practiced our rain delay today,” manager A.J. Hinch said jokingly.

The D-backs were able to get in all their work with just a few grumbles about the long day. There will be one more session of live batting practice Tuesday and Wednesday they will look to go through their workouts over at Tucson Electric Park in anticipation of Thursday’s opener.

– Hinch announced that Rodrigo Lopez, who is battling for the fifth spot in the rotation, will start Monday’s game against the Indians as well as the March 14 game in Hermosillo, Mexico.

– D-backs special assistant to the GM Bob Gebhard has been back in camp after suffering a heart attack last week.

Taking a couple of days off was all Gebhard could manage. In fact, he tried to convince his doctor to let him go back to the office the day he was released from the hospital after having a pair of stents put in.

– Seems like the most asked question has moved on from Hinch’s relative lack of experience in the dugout to how he is going to handle his catching corps.

To restate, Miguel Montero is the starter heading into camp, but Hinch says that doesn’t mean that Chris Snyder is going to be buried on the bench. He is reluctant to get into how much playing time each is going to get, but says it will not be a strict platoon situation.

Hinch said pitchers would not have “personal catchers” and it will be interesting to see how that plays out with Brandon Webb, who is used to having Snyder catch him. The two have a very close relationship and Webb relies on Snyder game-calling ability.

Talking baseball gloves

Some baseball players will use their gloves for years. Shortstop Stephen Drew was oiling down his game glove Thursday morning, because if he doesn’t the six-year-old glove will crack. In fact, there are some cracks and even holes in it, but it’s broken in just the way he likes it and so he’s not changing.

It’s a little different for Chris Snyder. As a catcher his gloves take more abuse than any others so he switches his gloves out each year.

Snyder has two gloves he keeps ready (see pictures below).  He has his game glove, which he typically starts using in August of a season and his backup which bullpen catcher Jeff Motuzas helps him break in so that it’s ready to take over in August.

Snyder oils his gloves more than most people do, which makes them very soft.

“Some pitchers complain that my glove doesn’t pop when the ball hits it,” Snyder said.

Count Dan Haren among the group that teases Snyder for that.

“It’s like a Tempur-Pedic pillow,” Haren said of the glove.

Here’s Snyder’s gamer glove and below it a look at both gloves, the new one on the left.

Snyder gamer glove.JPG

Snyder 2 gloves.JPG

Monday morning notes from the Clubhouse

The D-backs are hoping that Mother Nature cooperates today as they will hurry to try and get their workout in before the expected rains come.

Pretty quiet in the clubhouse this morning with guys starting to settle into the routine of Spring Training.

Catcher Chris Snyder spent some time talking with special instructor Mel Stottlemyre Sr. and afterwards I asked him about the value of having the former big league pitching coach in camp.

“Unbelievable,” Snyder said. “Having him around is a learning experience for everyone. When you think of great pitching coaches in the game he’s got to be one of the first that comes to mind.”

Stottlemyre is the father of former D-backs pitcher Todd and current pitching coach Mel Jr.

After pitchers throw their bullpen sessions here in camp, the catchers will generally meet them halfway between the mound and plate to assess their performance with the catchers giving feedback on mechanics, location, movement etc.

“When [Stottlemyre Sr.] is involved in one of those and he’s talking, you’re quiet,” Snyder said. “You just take in his knowledge.”

————————————————–

Lefty Clay Zavada, whose rise to the big leagues last year was a great story, has a locker this year more befitting of a Major Leaguer than he did last year.

In 2009, he was on the side of the clubhouse typically reserved for Minor Leaguers on the 40-man roster and non-roster invitees. This year he has a locker on the on a corner next to the bat rack.

“I don’t care where they put me,” Zavada said when I pointed out his new digs. “They could make me dress in a shack outside and I would still be happy as long as they gave me a uniform.”

It’s just another example of why it’s refreshing to spend time talking with him.

Catching conundrum for D-backs

So here we are again, heading into another season with the D-backs essentially having two starting catchers.

At the end of last season it seemed all but certain that Chris Snyder would not be in Tucson when Spring Training started.

“Surprised to see me?” he asked to me by way of a greeting the other day.

Actually, I was.

The D-backs nearly traded Snyder to the Blue Jays for first baseman Lyle Overbay in November, but the Jays backed out at the last minute.

So far, Snyder looks completely recovered from last September’s back surgery and it’s also clear he’s going to push Miguel Montero, who took over the starting job last year following Snyder’s injury, for playing time.

“I think A.J. and the staff will determine how best to use those guys,” GM Josh Byrnes said referring to manager A.J. Hinch and his coaches. “We clearly have two No. 1 caliber catchers so we’ll figure it out as we go.”

Montero hits left-handed and Snyder right-handed, but it won’t be a true platoon.

“Miggy showed last year he can hit left-handed pitching and Snydes in 2008 hit right-handed pitching very well so it won’t be as simple as that,” Byrnes said.

And it also looks like the D-backs are not going to deal Snyder at least any time soon.

“That’s our assumption right now,” Byrnes said. “Obviously we had those discussions and made an attempt early and there is a point at which it becomes less realistic. So right now I think it’s prudent to assume that’s going to be our catching combination.”

Now it falls on Hinch to figure out how to keep both catchers happy and productive.

“It’s something I’m going to have to sort out playing time wise over the season,” Hinch said. “But to go in strong, to go in healthy…to me I have no complaints. I never have a problem with too many good guys.”

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