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Rays add a bat, drop a pitcher
By MARC TOPKIN, Times Staff Writer
Published October 26, 2007
Chris Snelling was slowed last year by a knee injury.
The Rays would seem to have enough outfielders. But they added another Thursday, claiming Chris Snelling off waivers from Oakland for $20,000 with the idea that he could provide depth and a left-handed bat off the bench.
First, the Rays have to find out if Snelling is healthy after missing most of last season with a left knee injury that required July surgery. The Rays expect him to return from his native Australia in about three weeks and will have him examined then.
Snelling, 25, was a top prospect in the Mariners organization, reaching the majors at age 20, but he has been limited by injuries throughout his career. He has a career .311 average in the minors and hit .240 in 89 major-league games.
"We like Chris Snelling's offensive profile quite a bit," Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman said. "Obviously he's had an extensive injury history; without that we wouldn't have been able to acquire him on a waiver claim. We're hopeful he can be a contributor to our '08 team."
To make room on the roster, veteran reliever Jay Witasick, who had a 6.61 ERA in 20 games, was released.
"Shocked is not the word," Witasick said. "It's probably best for both. I definitely want to pitch and they need pitching, but I don't know their plans. Baseball is a game of needs, and I feel I have something to offer."