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Tucson Toros baseball

Toros setup man Snowdon signed by Phillies

Tucson Toros pitcher Andrew Snowdon’s performance on July 14th caught the eye of the Philadelphia Phillies.

The 2008 World Series champions acquired the contract of the 24-year-old right-hander on July 23rd.

In front of major league scouts at the International All-Star Game between the Golden Baseball League and Northern League at Hi Corbett Field, Snowdon pitched a scoreless inning and posted two strikeouts.

Snowdon left Sunday to join the ranks of the Single-A Clearwater Threshers of the Florida State League. It is the first time the Central Washington University alum has played in affiliated ball.

When Snowdon received the news, Toros leftfielder Lino Garcia – who spent most of his career in affiliated baseball – gave him some parting advice.

“I told him to keep working hard and that he has a long way to go,” Garcia said. “I told him to take care of his body, to be on time, to not complain and follow his duties. Major league clubs like that kind of personality.”

“I also told him that staying healthy was super important, because it’s a hard sport in the way that if you get hurt, there’s 250 guys ready to take your place. So it’s essential that you take care of your body.”

The Toros drafted Snowdon in the first round (8th overall).

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This season, Snowdon has recorded 34 strikeouts in 39 1/3 innings with a 2.98 ERA.

In his last outing for the Toros on July 16, he threw two scoreless innings against Maui, leaders of the Southern Division.

Snowdon's consistency

"Throwing a lot of strikes and attacking on the first pitch,” Snowden said. “That approach has worked really well, because then I can fool around with hitters for a few pitches rather than have to battle back (in the count) all the time."

Although Snowdon has provided a reliable arm out of the Toros bullpen this 2010 season, the reliever hopes to move into a starting pitching role.

"I've always been a starting pitcher, so I'd like to do that again,” the pitcher said. “But really, whatever the team wants me to do is fine.”

Before joining the team, Snowdon was a starter this past season in the Arizona Winter League, when he recorded a complete game victory with 12 strikeouts.

“I really liked being able to go the full nine innings,” Snowdon said of his complete game. “It was the game that got us to the championship, so it was really fun being out there for that.”

Snowdon led the AWL in innings pitched (39) and was second in strikeouts (39).

Moving from the stamina-driven position of a starting pitcher to a clutch position as a reliever was a big shift for Snowdon.

"The perspective is different as a starter versus a reliever,” he said. “When I come into the game with guys on base (as a reliever), I'm the one who's trying to help the starting pitcher out.

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“I used to be a starter, so I know how it feels to leave the game with runners in scoring position. So there's more pressure as a reliever. It’s kind of switched ways."

Besides a viewpoint change, the Washington native said the reliever role has differences in mechanics as well.

"The biggest adjustment I've had to make (as a relief pitcher) is needing to warm up faster,” Snowdon said. “That has been the roughest part of switching to a reliever. It was really hard at first, and I struggled with it a lot in the beginning.”

"What I have liked about being a reliever is being able to go in there and just attack, because you don't have to conserve anything like you do as a starting pitcher.

“There’s been ups and downs, but I feel like I’ve adapted quickly and am comfortable getting in there now."

With the loss of their setup man, Toros starting pitchers will sorely miss Snowdon in the bullpen.

“He was our stopper,” James Garcia said. “If there were guys on when I left, I knew he was going to come in and shut them down. There was never a question whether or not he would get the job done. I mean, he’s certainly saved me on more than a few occasions.”

“The way Snowdon carries himself has always been amazing. He acts as if he’s been playing for a long time, and he absolutely deserves this call up.”

Garcia and Snowdon are friends off the field as well and Garcia said that they will continue to stay in touch.

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Joe Cohn/TucsonSentinel.com

Andrew Snowdon's contract was acquired by the Philadelphia Phillies on July 23. He became the fifth Tucson Toro this season to be drafted by Major League Baseball teams. He pitched a scoreless inning during the International All-Star Game between the Northern League and Golden Baseball League. He struck out two. He had a 2.98 ERA in 39 1/3 innings pitched and recorded 34 strikeouts.

Toros in MLB (signed this year)

PlayerPositionMajor League Club and level
Andrew SnowdenPitcherClearwater (FL.) Threshers – Single-A (Philadelphia Phillies)
Rene GarciaPitcherGreat Falls (Mont.) Voyagers – Single-A (Chicago White Sox)
Tom WilhelmsenPitcherEverett (Wash.) Aquasox – Single-A (Seattle Mariners)
Dustin YountFirst BasemanChattanooga (Tenn.) Lookouts – Double-A (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Andrew RomoPitcherSalem-Keizer (N. Car.) Volcanoes – Single-A (San Francisco Giants)