Blue Crabs add to the ros­ter

Fa­mil­iar faces, new faces sign to base­ball team

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­ Twit­ter: @aj­ma­son301

With the 2016 sea­son be­gin­ning later this month, the South­ern Mary­land Blue Crabs con­tinue to re­sign and make new ad­di­tions to the ros­ter.

The Blue Crabs re­cently an­nounced the sign­ings of right-handed pitcher Brian Gren­ing, in­fielder Michael Sny­der, left-handed pitcher Scott Maine, outfielder Nick Atkins and pitch­ers Cody Ep­p­ley and Nav­ery Moore.

Gren­ing re­turns to South­ern Mary­land for the third straight sea­son, while Sny­der, the brother of for­mer Blue Crab Bran­don Sny­der, joins the team for first time ever.

Gren­ing, a na­tive of Newport Beach, Calif., will be en­ter­ing his fourth year in the At­lantic League, hav­ing played the last two sea­sons with the Blue Crabs, and with Lan­caster in 2013.

Gren­ing, who was drafted by the Cleve­land In­di­ans in the 38th round of the 2008 Ma­jor League Base­ball Draft out of Cal Poly, played a pro­duc­tive role in the start­ing ro­ta­tion and bullpen in the 2015 sea­son. The 30-year-old fin­ished with a record of 4-9 with a 4.49 ERA in 28 games and started 19 games over­all.

“I am very ex­cited,” said Gren­ing in an email on Wed­nes­day evening with South­ern Mary­land News­pa­pers. “Happy to be play­ing un­der JO [Blue Crabs new man­ager Jeremy Owens] dur­ing his first year as the man­ager and play in one of the best or­ga­ni­za­tions in the At­lantic League. The ex­pec­ta­tions are to get back to the cham­pi­onship and win it, and have some fun along the way.”

Sny­der, a na­tive of Ta­coma, Wash., is a cor­ner in­fielder who played with Dou­ble-A Arkansas in the Los An­ge­les Angels of Ana­heim or­ga­ni­za­tion in 2015. He was drafted by the Angels in the 23rd round of the 2012 Ma­jor League Base­ball Draft out of Florida South­ern Col­lege and went on to spend four sea­sons in the Angels or­ga­ni­za­tion, mak­ing it as high as the Dou­ble-A level.

“I know guys who have played in the At­lantic League be­fore and cur­rently and none of them have a neg­a­tive thing to say about it,” said Sny­der in a text mes­sage on Wed­nes­day night to South­ern Mary­land News­pa­pers. “I’m ex­tremely ex­cited. It is go­ing to be awe­some ex­pe­ri­ence for me to play in this league. My older brother couldn’t have said bet­ter things about the league.”

On what made him come to South­ern Mary­land, Sny­der said, “I think hav­ing my brother play there last year, how know­ing JO and be­ing close to home helped a lot. It feels like the best op­por­tu­nity for me and that’s all I want. South­ern Mary­land is giv­ing me an op­por­tu­nity to play and that’s all a player can ask for.”

“I’m very ex­cited about our two new ad­di­tions,” Owens said in a Blue Crabs news re­lease. “Gren­ing stepped up for us last year in both the start­ing staff and bullpen. Sny­der is a young cor­ner in­fielder who can re­ally hit and will serve us well in the field with his de­fense.”

Owens noted that he was ex­cited to bring in more pitch­ing to the bullpen in Maine, a for­mer pitcher for the Bride­port Blue­fish, and Atkins, a for­mer player for the Joi­let Jack­ham­mers, and Moore, a for­mer star pitcher for Van­der­bilt. Ep­p­ley also re­turns to the Blue Crabs af­ter a strong 2015 cam­paign.

“I’m get­ting more and more ex­cited about the sea­son ap­proach­ing,” said Owens, whose team starts train­ing camp on April 11. “We are look­ing to fin­ish up get­ting some guys in for the bullpen. We have some new faces and a lot of guys that are re­turn­ing. The main fo­cus is pitch­ing and catch­ing.”

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