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Astros decline option on catcher Snyder

HOUSTON -- The Astros, in what certainly was no surprise, declined their portion of the $4 million mutual option on backup catcher Chris Snyder for 2013 on Wednesday and will instead pay him a $500,000 buyout to become a free agent.

Snyder, 31, appeared in 76 games for his hometown Astros last season and hit .176 with seven homers and 24 RBIs. The Astros signed Snyder a year ago to back up Jason Castro, who missed all of the 2011 season following major knee surgery.

Castro was able to stay relatively healthy and blossomed at the plate, hitting .281 with six homers and 21 RBIs in his final 171 at-bats of the season. Snyder and switch-hitting catcher Carlos Corporan split playing time when Castro was injured or wasn't in the lineup.

"We like the job Corporan did, and certainly he'll get a chance to come to camp and compete as the backup to Castro," Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said.

Corporan hit .269 with four homers and 13 RBIs in 27 games last year but spent most of the season at Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Luhnow said last week the club will try to find a veteran backup catcher in free agency to compete with Corporan. Snyder, who provided veteran leadership in a young clubhouse, said late in the season he wanted to continue playing.

Snyder is a career .225 hitter with 77 homers and 297 RBIs in nine Major League seasons, including seven with Arizona. He was drafted by the D-backs in the second round out of the University of Houston. Snyder played at Spring Woods High School in Houston, the alma mater of Roger Clemens.

Houston Astros, Jason Castro, Carlos Corporan, Chris Snyder