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Brandon Snyder to get time in outfield

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- It's time to see how versatile Brandon Snyder can be.

The 25-year-old is still in big league camp and will get a chance to start in left field in today's Cactus League game against the San Diego Padres.

Snyder said the last time he can remember starting a game in the outfield was Legion ball.

"I played it a few times in the minors, but never really got a chance to work on it," Snyder said. "Here, they want me to go out and play and see what I can do. I like that."

Snyder was acquired from the Baltimore Orioles on Jan. 3 for cash considerations. He was a former first-round pick (13th overall) in 2005 and has played mostly first base in his career.

"He's athletic and we want to get a look at him out there," manager Ron Washington said. "So we'll get him in left field and see how it goes."

Snyder has worked with outfield coach Gary Pettis on routes and reading the ball off the bat. Snyder feels like he's improving with every drill out there and Washington reported that Pettis believes Snyder is picking things up quickly.

Snyder has been swinging the bat well -- he had a double last night after coming in late to play left field -- and hits right-handed. That's something the club is looking for off the bench, especially if Craig Gentry isn't fully ready for the season or struggles in the last week. Snyder is 6-for-20 this spring with one homer and seven RBIs.

Other notes:

* LHP Neal Cotts will be on the mound today as well. He's still in the mix for the left-handed bullpen job and his chances improved when the club decided to release Mitch Stetter and Joe Beimel on Monday.

"I'm just going to keep doing my job until they tell me otherwise," Cotts said. "It's been an up-and-down spring, but I feel like I've progressed since the beginning."

Cotts has allowed five runs in 8 2/3 innings with three walks and six strikeouts. He's done a nice job against lefties, which would be his role if he were to make the team.

* RHP Joe Nathan will pitch in tonight's minor league game, the second of back-to-back games for him.