Snyder must catch on quickly to make Angels' roster

Snyder must catch on quickly to make Angels' roster

PHOENIX, Ariz. -- Chris Snyder's flight from Florida touched down a little before 7 p.m. PT on Monday. And at around 7 a.m. on Tuesday, the veteran catcher arrived at Tempe Diablo Stadium to find his name on the list of those traveling to Maryvale Baseball Park for his first game action.

If Snyder is going to make the Opening Day roster as the Angels' backup catcher, he'll have to be a quick study.

Snyder, 32, who signed a Minor League deal with the Angels shortly after being released by the Nationals, is in the American League for the first time and has less than two weeks to familiarize himself with an entirely new pitching staff.

"I tell you what, there's going to be a lot of hanging out in the bullpen when I'm not playing," said Snyder, who caught the last two innings against the Brewers on Tuesday and grounded out in his only plate appearance. "It's going to be just hanging out, talking with guys, getting to know everybody, and once you get on the field, then that's where you learn everything. I'm going to be watching in the dugout and paying attention and talking to everybody and trying to figure everybody out."

Snyder, brought in to give the Angels another backup option given Hank Conger's recent throwing issues, has a .225/.329/.385 slash line in his nine-year Major League career, but has also thrown out 29 percent of would-be base-stealers and is steady behind the plate.

Snyder is technically competing with Conger, John Hester and Luke Carlin for the backup job behind Chris Iannetta, but he can opt out of his Minor League deal if he isn't on the Opening Day roster.

And that's 13 days away.

"We're going to throw him in," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We're going to try to get him acclimated here in the next couple days with most of our guys, have some meetings, make sure we're set so he understands the pitchers' stuff and everything and what every pitcher's trying to do. There's a lot that goes into it that he's going to have to make a quick study of."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.