Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Snyder Starts Transition to New Life as a Coach

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Snyder Starts Transition to New Life as a Coach

Article excerpt

SARASOTA

If it couldn't be on the mound, doing what he had been, seemingly his entire life, Kyle Snyder didn't care.

He wanted to stay in baseball.

The Tampa Bay Rays obliged.

"I truly get excited,'' said the 34-year-old, "about getting up every day and going to work.''

And that work, as a Rays minor-league pitching coach, is the next logical step forward for the former Riverview High star.

Forward, for Snyder couldn't go back.

After five surgeries, the arm of the 1999 first-round draft pick - - and seventh overall -- of the Kansas City Royals simply couldn't withstand the torque needed to propel baseballs past major league hitters.

The last operation, in April 2010, this one to repair a torn labrum and rotator cuff, told Snyder it was the end everywhere but in his mind.

His medical history kept most organizations away, so Snyder accepted what was offered -- a shot last season with the Newark Bears of the independent CanAm League.

Snyder needed to make sure. Lingering doubts couldn't exist. Athletic regret leaves a stain. The opposition would render the verdict.

It took all of six games, 4 2/3 innings. An inability to pitch on consecutive days, the final indication.

Home -- and not the plate variety -- would be Snyder's last stop.

"I thought long and hard about what that next chapter was going to consist of,'' he said. "I knew I wanted to stay in baseball, but I wasn't sure in what capacity.''

Along with Doug Million, the highest area player ever drafted, Snyder had several factors going for him. He was smart and savvy, having forged a five-year big-league career minus the 95-mph fastball that made him so coveted coming out of the University of North Carolina.

And as Curt Schilling, Snyder's teammate with the Red Sox, said back in 2007, "He's as good a kid as I've ever been around.''

A level of character and maturity the Rays felt would benefit their young pitchers. …

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