The Orioles have attempted to bolster their lack of catching depth by sending minor league right-hander Rob Delaney to the Los Angeles Angels organization for veteran catcher Chris Snyder.
Snyder, 32, will meet the team in Seattle on Tuesday and presumably will take over the back-up catching void created when Taylor Teagarden dislocated his left thumb Saturday.
The Orioles recalled Luis Exposito for Sunday’s game – he did not play -- but now it is likely he will lose his place on the big league roster Tuesday with the pending arrival of Snyder, a veteran of parts of nine major league seasons.
“Snyder is an experienced catcher who can handle a pitching staff, slug against left-handed pitchers and get on-base,” said Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette.
Snyder was hitting .342 with seven homers in 21 games with Salt Lake City in the Pacific Coast League after asking for and receiving his release from the Washington Nationals this spring.
A former second rounder with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2002, Snyder has some pop – he hit 16 homers for Arizona in 2008 – but is a career .225 hitter with a .329 on-base percentage. He batted .176 with seven homers in 76 games last year with the Houston Astros.
Delaney, 28, was 0-1 with a 10.12 ERA in three games with Norfolk. The club signed him this offseason to a minor league deal.
Exposito was at Norfolk watching the Orioles on TV before the Tides’ night game when he saw Teagarden’s injury and assumed he might be coming up. And then a crazy journey began. He drove from Norfolk to Baltimore at midnight, then took a 6 a.m. cross country flight from Baltimore to California to get to the Oakland Coliseum before 10 a.m.
]“There was nowhere to sleep in the airport, so in the plane [I slept],” he said. “This is the best feeling it is. This is what you work for in the offseason. So I am happy and I am ready.”
Exposito, 26, played in nine games for the Orioles last year, picking up one hit in 18 at-bats. He’s had his struggles offensively and defensively this year, hitting .218 with six RBIs in 18 games at Norfolk while throwing out just one of 16 would-be basestealers. But his bat has come around recently; he’s 10-for-33 (.303) in his last eight games. Exposito also had some difficulties defensively this spring, but he said he believes he is better than what he has showed recently.
“I feel like I am a good player, and there have been good players who have had some struggles,” Exposito said. “I put a lot of pressure on myself [in the spring] to show these guys I can catch and I put too much pressure and I just wasn’t myself. I tried to do too much and look too perfect. That’s not me. I need to go out and have fun.”