Montero Injury Opens Door for Snyder

Fate and karma are talked about by many baseball players to describe situations where life opens and closes the door on opportunities in their career. Everyone wants to believe that they have control over their careers and the success they are able to garner but the fact is, a lot of times it is just being in the right place at the right time that leads to a player getting a chance.

This concept is not lost on the Arizona Diamondbacks catching corps. Over the past couple of seasons we have seen the careers of each take very different paths yet remain intertwined.

Chris Snyder was a young up-and-coming catching prospect with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He made the jump from Double-A to the major leagues based upon his defense and ability to call a great game.

The pitching staff raved at how he was mature beyond his years in controlling the flow of a game. He studied the opposition and was a consummate professional always being prepared for an opponent.

Manager Bob Melvin anointed him the starting catcher and Snyder began developing into a team leader. He was ensconced as the starting catcher and the Diamondbacks rewarded him with a three-year contract.

Last season Snyder watched as his biggest proponent, manager Bob Melvin, was relieved of his duties replaced by AJ Hinch. Snyder said all the right things supporting Hinch. The question remained, would Snyder remain as the starter?

While everyone was touting Snyder, former Diamondbacks pitcher Randy Johnson was raving about Snyder’s back-up Miguel Montero. Johnson went as far as saying Montero should be the starter. This did not sit well with many but given Johnson’s pedigree it was hard not to listen.

When Snyder went down with an injury the starting job was given to Montero. Montero took advantage of this opportunity and improved his game not only offensively where he hit .294 with 16 home runs and 59 RBI but also made great strides with his defense.

Snyder suffered back problems and his season ended in August when he underwent surgery to repair his injuries. Suddenly the question marks began swirling around Snyder. Could he come back and if he did would he be able to regain his job as the starting catcher?

Prior to the 2009 season the rumors swirled that the Diamondbacks were entertaining offers to trade Montero. Prior to the 2010 season there were again trade rumors involving the catching corps. This time it was Snyder who heard his name mentioned with various deals.

In December there was a proposed deal to send Snyder to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for first baseman and former Diamondback Lyle Overbay. The deal was declined after Snyder took a physical for the Blue Jays.

Entering Spring Training Montero was the starter with Snyder being identified as the back-up. To his credit Snyder accepted the role and said very little.

Montero started the season once again with a hot bat hitting .500 in his first 12 at-bats. It looked as though he was now the Diamondbacks starting catcher just as the Big Unit had suggested.

During the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Montero was injured while trying to reach first base on a hit. The injury was on his right knee and initial reports describe the injury as a torn meniscus.

Tests and films are still being collected but it appears Montero will undergo surgery. There is currently no time frame for his return. So, like a year ago the Diamondbacks are faced with going with their backup catcher on a daily basis while the starter recovers from surgery.

Perhaps lightning will strike again and Snyder will make the most of this opportunity. By mid-season we may be talking again about the Diamondbacks catching situation and how they have the enviable problem of having two catchers who would be starters on any number of teams.


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