Padres sign outfielder Chris Snelling …
PEORIA, Ariz. – The Padres added depth to their outfield on Saturday when they signed Chris Snelling to a Minor League contract.
An official announcement is expected later Saturday.
Snelling impressed the Padres with his performance for his native Australia in the World Baseball Classic where he hit .273 with three home runs and nine RBI in three games.
Snelling, 27, was once considered a prized prospect in the Seattle Mariners’ organization before being slowed by a number of injuries after making his Major League debut at the age of 20 with the Mariners.
Snelling is a career .305 hitter in the Minor Leagues with a .393 on-base percentage. He was a favorite of then-Seattle manager Lou Piniella in 2002 and became a fan favorite in Seattle, gaining something of a cult following from fans that chose to refer to him by his middle name (Doyle) so to avoid cursing him into another injury.
But Snelling – who is a .244 hitter in 225 Major League at-bats with Seattle, Washington, Oakland and Philadelphia – couldn’t shake the injury bug.
He broke his hand in 2000, his ankle in 2001 and tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in 2002 and did it again in 2005. Snelling also broke his wrist and his thumb and has even lost two teeth. All told, he’s had seven surgeries on his injured left knee.
Snelling’s best season as a professional came in 2001 with San Bernardino of the Class A California League when, at the age of 19, he hit .336 with a .418 on-base percentage.
San Diego will be his sixth organization since 2006. He spent last season in the Phillies’ organization and appeared in four games there. He became a free agent in the off-season.
Snelling, a left-handed hitter, will be given a chance to make the team, though the Padres have a crowded outfield with Brian Giles, Chase Headley, Jody Gerut and Scott Hairston, who is playing for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic.