BRADENTON, Fla. -- Concerns about Chris Snyder's back are likely to force the Pirates to begin the year with Snyder on the disabled list or with three catchers on the club's roster.
Though Snyder said he could potentially resume baseball activities as early as Monday, general manager Neal Huntington said after Sunday's game that it was "very probable" that Snyder will begin the year on the disabled list.
With Snyder expected to land on the DL, the Pirates will open the season with Ryan Doumit and Jason Jaramillo as their two catchers. This also means that outfielder John Bowker will claim the club's final bench spot. Bowker would have been the odd man out, had the Pirates started the season with three catchers, which was a possibility that was discussed.
Though Snyder might not be out long, the Pirates cannot risk going into the year with one healthy catcher and one hampered by back issues. And considering that Snyder missed two weeks with similar back soreness earlier this month, it seemed ambitious to expect him to be ready for full-time catching duties in five days.
The club has not specified whether Doumit or Jaramillo will get the majority of starts behind the plate in Snyder's absence. It could be a scenario in which the duties are split fairly evenly. As for Bowker, he will serve as the team's fifth outfielder and another backup first baseman.