Snyder Gets Surprise Call

The Diamondbacks were very clear as the trade deadline neared. They needed young pitching, and a catcher ready to play in the majors. They got that catcher in Koyie Hill, but as seems to be the case with the D'Backs, as soon as they make a good deal, someone gets hurt. The solution might have been there all along. Coming off a fantastic season, Chris Snyder is the newest member of the 'Baby Backs.'

Rumor around the Diamondbacks front office had catching prospect Chris Snyder possibly moving up to the big club next year. So much for rumors. The hard-hitting, slick fielding catcher got the call every minor league player hopes for yesterday and is now a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

"It's a great honor" said Snyder who batted .301 with 15 home runs and 57 RBIs for the Diablos this year.

I got the call about 1 o'clock from Bob Miller [Diamondbacks Assistant General Manager] and he asked me if I felt like catching a flight to Phoenix tonight and I was pretty much speechless"

The move, which was necessitated by the season ending ankle injury to newly acquired catcher Koyie Hill means the 23 year-old Snyder will be sharing time behind the plate with Juan Brito starting today.

It also means the highly anticipated position battle between the two young catchers (Snyder and Hill) will be starting a little sooner than expected.

"He's a great player and a great catcher," said Snyder "It's just terribly unfortunate what happened to him and I really didn't want it to be this way for me to get called up, but that's just the way everything turned out. I just hope everything works out good for him."

Snyder had an idea he'd be moving up when he heard about Hill's injury after his Tuesday night game against the Arkansas Travelers (Anaheim) but he was planning on a ticket to Tucson to play with the Triple-A Sidewinders; the organization had different plans.

"It was a surprise definitely," said Snyder. Ansman [Tuscon catcher Craig Ansman] is having a great year. He's a great catcher and a great hitter. He's a little bit older than I am, more experienced, and been around in pro ball a little bit longer. To tell you the truth when I got on the phone with Bob Miller it was actually a shock that I was skipping Triple-A, and going all the way up… I'm just happy the way everything turned out."

As big as this promotion is, it's just the tip of the iceberg on what's been a great year for Snyder.

"I've been truly blessed this year. Going into spring training I felt this was going to be a good year. It started off slow but I got back into a good routine and it just took off from there," said the Texas League all-star. "I'm just looking forward to what's coming up with my wife since we are expecting a little boy in November. It's just something to look forward to and I just try to keep that in mind and knowing that if I go 0-4 one night it doesn't really matter. There is a lot more important things out there that I have to take care of and I'm basically going to the ballpark everyday, showing up and having fun. That's all it's been this year."

The day before the announcement, Diablos manager Scott Coolbaugh said that Snyder wasn't that far away from joining the Diamondbacks. "It's just a matter of time for him and opportunity," Coolbaugh said Tuesday. "He's had a tremendous year. He's made considerable strides forward and has improved defensively as a catcher. Offensively he's always been one who's been known to swing the bat."

The opportunity might have arrived a little sooner than expected for the right-hander but he's excited about the challenge.

"I'm just going to go up there and try to do a good job behind the plate, try to help out the older pitchers and get a few hits here and there and if everything works out right, hopefully I can stay there until the end of the season," he said.

Replacing Snyder on the Diablos roster is utility infielder Keoni DeRenne who batted .306 with 10 homeruns and 31 RBIs for the Sidewinders this season.

2004 w/Diablos Avg. HR RBI SLG.
Chris Snyder .301 15 57 .520

(Special thanks for this article go to Mike Lindskog, El Paso Diablos, director of promotions)

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