Cory Snyder is fighting for a job for the first time in five years, and he insisted Friday he likes the challenge.
Snyder, known to have one of the best arms in baseball, probably will take a back seat to right fielder Sammy Sosa to start the season.Instead, Chicago White Sox manager Jeff Torborg sees Snyder as a Mr. Everywhereman, playing in left field, third base, first base and designated hitter.
"Right now, I have him penciled in part-time, but that can change on the third day in spring training," Torborg said. "All he needs to do is get hot, which he can do, and he'll force himself into the lineup."
Snyder, a first-round pick in 1984 out of BYU, was drafted as a third baseman. He played, there, as well as at shortstop and left field, while with the Indians, who traded him to Chicago in the offseason.
On Friday, he took grounders at third base, where he would spell former Robin Ventura.
"I like a challenge. I still think I'm young. I still think I can start," said the 28-year-old Snyder.
"I'm going to fight for a job, whether it's third base or right field. It'll all come down to hitting. If I hit, I'll have a job somewhere. This spring training is important to me. I'm going to show them I can play every day."
After a hot start, Snyder bottomed out at .215 in 1989, when he was bothered by back problems. Snyder hit .233 last year, when he spent the last weeks of the season on the bench.
Snyder, who hit .272 in 1988 and a career-high 33 homers the year before, feuded with hitting coach Jose Morales. He said the problem with Morales may have been caused by his attending Walt Hriniak's hitting school in suburban Boston after his woeful 1989 season.
"It was almost like they (Cleveland's coaches) didn't like what I was doing because it wasn't what they were doing," said Snyder, whose father played with Hriniak as a minor-leaguer.
To get Snyder, the White Sox gave up Eric King, 12-4 for them last year, and reliever Shawn Hillegas, who spent most of 1990 at Class AAA Vancouver.
Considering how they used Snyder down the stretch, the Indians may have been lucky to get as much as they did.
"You figure when they're going to trade somebody, they'll play him and let him show his abilities," Snyder said.