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Old 04-23-2003, 02:02 AM   #7
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Snyder to make his major-league debut Friday for Royals

By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
Posted on Wed, Apr. 23, 2003

The Royals plan to summon Kyle Snyder to replace Jeremy Affeldt in their rotation instead of using relievers Albie Lopez or Kris Wilson on an interim basis.

Snyder, 25, will make his major-league debut Friday night, when the Royals open a three-city trip with the first of three games in Toronto.

"One good thing about Kyle," manager Tony Pena said, "is he's not afraid to throw any of his pitches at any time. And he throws strikes. That's what you need."

Snyder was the club's first-round pick in 1999 but missed nearly all of the 2000 and 2001 seasons because of two major shoulder surgeries. He is 3-0 with a 2.74 ERA this spring in four starts for Class AAA Omaha, Neb.

"From what we've seen," general manager Allard Baird said, "he's pitched down in the strike zone. When he has missed, he has missed down in the strike zone.

"Would we like to have had him get five or six more starts under his belt? In a perfect world, yes. But when we look at whether he can handle the situation from a mental standpoint, I have no doubt that he can do that."

At this point, it appears Snyder will replace reliever Jeremy Hill on the roster. Hill was recalled Sunday when Affeldt went on the disabled list.

The Royals will promote Snyder because they want to keep Lopez and Wilson in the bullpen. Lopez is 3-0 with a 2.31 ERA in five outings. He pitched five scoreless innings last Saturday in relief of Affeldt. Wilson has a 1.74 ERA in four appearances.

"Our bullpen setup is very important," Pena said. "I don't want to mess it up. The bullpen has been one of our strongest points."

The bullpen, overall, entered Tuesday's game with a combined 1.53 ERA and a streak of 17 scoreless innings.

Snyder should get at least two starts as Affeldt, a lefty, recovers from a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand.

But if Snyder pitches well, it will put pressure on Chris George and Miguel Asencio to hold onto their spots in the rotation. The Royals also could choose to shift Darrell May to the bullpen.

"Kyle came very close to making this ballclub in spring training," Pena said. "I saw a lot of potential. He threw the ball well."

The Royals waited until the last week of spring training before choosing George over Snyder for the final spot in their rotation.

"I've just got to establish strike one a little more often," Snyder said. "If I can get strike one, I feel I can get any major-league hitter out with a lot of consistency."
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