SARASOTA, Fla. - The Orioles drafted Brandon Snyder as a catcher back in 2005, making him the 13th overall pick. They moved him to third base and first base, leading to the assumption that he’d never again wear shin guards and a chest protector, though some of those hops can be pretty nasty.
Snyder is still viewed by team officials as a first baseman, but he’ll get some work behind the plate this spring to increase his versatility and value to the organization.
“I’m excited,” he said. “It’s always good to kind of have a new thing to do. It’s obviously a challenge. I haven’t caught for three or four years, but I feel like once you catch for a while, it’s one of those things where hopefully you can get back pretty soon. Obviously, I’m not expecting myself to be game-ready in a week, but I do feel like, because I caught for years, I should be further along.
“I caught in 2006. I didn’t catch in 2007. I catch bullpens every once in a while in the offseason. I catch some of the big league guys that come and throw and work out at my dad’s complex. Nothing serious. I get down and do it just because it’s fun.”
Manager Buck Showalter approached Snyder with the idea last month at FanFest.
“He just said, ‘I’ve been running a thought through and we were thinking that it could definitely help your value to get behind the plate again and add another tool,’ ” Snyder said. “And what a great opportunity to come early where I don’t have to be here to work on my defensive stuff. He just said, ‘You know what, let’s just catch for a week and see how it goes and you can just go from there.’
“I don’t really know what they have planned, but whatever I can do to try to help the ballclub, that’s what I want to do, especially if it’s something I’ve done in the past.”