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Versatile Snyder adding catcher to repertoire

Kittredge in mix for long-reliever role; Rays trim roster
Special to MLB.com

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Brandon Snyder, a non-roster invitee, is listed on the Rays roster as a right-handed-hitting infielder. Entering Thursday's game vs. the Red Sox, he had played 21 innings at first base and six at third this spring. He had also played eight innings in left field.

He added to his repertoire vs. Boston, entering in the seventh inning to replace catcher Wilson Ramos. It was his first time behind the plate this spring, but the position isn't completely unfamiliar to him. While he has a total of just one Major League inning behind the plate -- in 2012 while with the Rangers -- he has appeared in 79 Minor League games, including 75 starts, at catcher.

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PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Brandon Snyder, a non-roster invitee, is listed on the Rays roster as a right-handed-hitting infielder. Entering Thursday's game vs. the Red Sox, he had played 21 innings at first base and six at third this spring. He had also played eight innings in left field.

He added to his repertoire vs. Boston, entering in the seventh inning to replace catcher Wilson Ramos. It was his first time behind the plate this spring, but the position isn't completely unfamiliar to him. While he has a total of just one Major League inning behind the plate -- in 2012 while with the Rangers -- he has appeared in 79 Minor League games, including 75 starts, at catcher.

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It's that kind of versatility that the Rays are looking for.

"It helps a lot," manager Kevin Cash said. "When we talk about different options when we're facing left-handed pitching, to be able to give Wilson an extra day to DH or something, Sooky [backup catch Jesus Sucre] behind the plate. And then Brandon or a guy like that in the lineup, not in the lineup, but have some flexibility to make some late-game decisions -- whether it's pinch-hitting, pinch-running or whatever it is."

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Snyder, who turned 31 in November, has spent parts of five Major League seasons with the Orioles, Rangers, Red Sox and Braves. He was the 13th overall pick by the Orioles in 2005 out of high school.

"[He's a] veteran guy that's had a lot of time in Triple-A, some time in the big leagues, he handles himself rally well," Cash said. "That wasn't an easy thing to do yesterday. He's caught two bullpens prior to that, but I think we were all a little surprised at how comfortable he looked back there. I know the one ball got away from him, but he blocked a handful of balls with a guy on third base. So we'll get him back out there again.

"I think he respects and knows what value he can bring, understands the role and where his versatility can help a Major League club at different parts throughout the season."

Kittredge in the mix 

Right-hander Andrew Kittredge started Friday's game against the Twins. He went 1 1/3 innings, giving up three runs on two hits and a walk with one strikeout. He threw 30 pitches, 20 for strikes, and allowed a solo home run to Miguel Sano in the second.

Before the game, Cash said Kittredge is in the bullpen mix, possibly as a long reliever.

"He's pretty interesting," Cash said. "If you ask [pitching coach] Kyle [Snyder], every possible role that he was asked, he excelled in. He had some three-inning outings, he had some one-batter outings. I like the way that he can come in. Looks like he's a big strong guy that we're going to continue to explore lengthening him, building him up a little bit.

"His bounceback has been good from all year last year in Triple-A and then the time that he spent with us. It seemed like whenever we asked him to throw, the next day he was ready to go."

Kittredge made 15 appearances, spanning 15 1/3 innings, for the Rays last season, posting 1.76 ERA.

On the move

Before the game the Rays reassigned to Minor League camp right-handers Ruben Alaniz, Edwin Fierro, and Forrest Snow, and catcher Nick Ciuffo. They also optioned right-hander Brent Honeywell. The roster is now at 61.

Up next

Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is scheduled to start Saturday when the Rays travel to Clearwater, Fla., to face the Phillies at 1:05 p.m. ET on MLB.TV. This will be Eovaldi's third Grapefruit League start. In 3 1/3 scoreless innings, he has given up two hits with no walks and four strikeouts.

Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com.

Tampa Bay Rays, Andrew Kittredge, Brandon Snyder