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MAINE STAY : Cory Snyder Hits Beach, as in Triple-A Orchard Beach, on Way to Majors

Times Staff Writer

Another detour sign has popped up on Cory Snyder’s long and winding road to the major leagues.

A year ago, the former Canyon High and Brigham Young star, a No. 1 draft choice of the Cleveland Indians, was given the chance to be one of the few ever to jump directly from college baseball into the major leagues. Instead, he spent the season in double-A with the Waterbury Indians where he led the Eastern League in home runs with 28.

After batting .219 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 21 games this spring, Snyder was sent to the Cleveland’s minor-league complex Wednesday for reassignment.

“Cory needs more experience adjusting to the outfield,” Dan O’Brien, Indian vice-president, told United Press International. “He can best get that in the minors, probably with Maine.”

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The Guides of Orchard Beach, Me., are a triple-A Indian farm team in the International League.

“I know they wanted me to learn the outfield, probably right field,” Snyder said. “I wanted to stay with the club, but I know this is the best way to learn.”

If Snyder becomes an outfielder, it will actually be the third position he has played in his brief professional career. At the start of last spring, Cleveland experimented with him at second base.

He was a third baseman at Waterbury, but with Brook Jacoby occupying that position at the big-league level, Snyder’s chances seem better in the outfield, although Cleveland currently has Joe Carter, Mel Hall and Brett Butler out there.

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Indian officials hint that Snyder can be expected to wear a Cleveland uniform before the year is over.

The man dubbed “White Hope” by Cleveland sportswriters a year ago has never left any doubt he can hit at every level he’s played.

He homered in his first three at-bats for BYU and finished his career there with 73, the most over a three-year period in NCAA history.

He hit .432 at Brigham Young, then won a spot on the 1984 U.S. Olympic team and hit .400 in the ’84 Games with two homers and seven RBI in five games.

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Once he became a pro, he was sent to the Florida Instructional League where he merely won the Southern Division triple crown with a .390 average, 14 home runs and 53 RBI in 46 games.

But at the big-league level, he has had problems. Last spring, he appeared in 10 games for Cleveland in spring training and hit just .182 with four hits in 22 at-bats.

Snyder, 23, had some company in Wednesday’s demotion. Outfielder Randy Washington and infielders Junior Noboa and Jim Wilson were also sent down for reassignment.

“They’re all candidates of the future,” O’Brien said, “but they’re competing for well-contested positions.”

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