It has been a tough year for Brandon Snyder.
The O's 2005 first-round pick has struggled at Triple-A Norfolk for the second year in a row and also has had to deal with an injury that has kept him off the field since June 17.
But tonight he is here in Aberdeen, at Ripken Stadium on an injury-rehab assignment with the IronBirds. He is expected to play three games here before re-joining the Tides.
Snyder first felt some pain during that June 17 game at Toledo.
"I have some torn or strained cartilage underneath my ribs. Pretty much they focused it more toward my floating ribs, more toward the lower back area. The prognosis was as soon as I can play, I can play. Long as I can play through some pain it will be okay.
"Fortunately, I didn't need any cortisone. Just some rest and anti-inflammatories. Just trying to get it to loosen up and feeling better."
Snyder, who was batting .255-5-28 in 64 games at Triple-A, was starting to hit at the time of the injury and was batting .327 in 15 games in June.
"This season has been extremely disappointing for me as I'm sure it is for Orioles fans who were counting on me to have a great season. But there are still a lot of games left. When I got hurt I started to feel really good at the plate and some things were coming together. Now I need to get back and finish this off on the right foot."
Snyder said one theory that he was trying to hit too many homers early in the year, and it kind of messed up his swing for a while, is true.
"Definitely, I was trying to pull the ball and take more aggressive swings in counts and that's just not me. That's not why I was drafted. When I started hitting well again was when I went back to being myself."
So tonight, Snyder is back at Aberdeen for the first time since 2006. It should be a short stay and he hopes he can resume his hot hitting from June when he gets back to the Tides.
He also knows there is one more step in his career, to make it to the Majors and Baltimore for the first time.
It's something he badly wants.
"I'm not going to say I don't pay attention, I do pay attention to who is going up and where they need help. It's not just that I want to be in Baltimore but I want to be there and help the team win. We're not having success and it's a player by player thing. That's the most disappointing, I know if I play well I can help the team.
"This is the year that was my first big opportunity to be in Baltimore and to see it slip by the wayside was tough to deal with."
Here's is tonight's IronBirds starting lineup:
CF - Trent Mummey
2B - Austin Knight
1B - Brandon Snyder
LF - Kipp Schutz
3B - Adam Gaylord
DH - Mike Flacco
RF - Jeremy Nowak
C - Joe Oliveira
SS - Michael Rooney
P - Scott Copeland