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Monday, May 20, 2019
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Rays Cy Young winner Blake Snell shares a secret to his success

ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell gave credit to many after winning the American League Cy Young award on Wednesday, citing family, friends, former and current Rays teammates among others.

But he had special thanks for Kyle Snyder, who has been his pitching coach and confidant at several levels in the minors before joining him in the big leagues in 2018.

"He's helped me through a lot of good times, a lot of bad times, a lot of in-the-middle times,'' Snell said. "He's been the guy I've leaned on for a lot of my career, so a lot of this goes to him.

"We've gone to battle together for a long time. To have him as my coach for the first year this year, I knew only great was going to happen. I'm really thankful to have him. And a lot of it has to go to him.''

Snyder, typically, said Snell deserves the credit, especially for the work he did to come into camp stronger and in better shape.

Something in common

Snell and Red Sox LHP David Price now share a special common bond, both winning Cy Youngs as Rays. Price, who said in September he expected Snell to win the award multiple times, reached out to Snell after the announcement, and they have plans to talk soon and compare notes. "It's going to be amazing,'' Snell said. "Definitely going to be a special moment.''

No junior Jr.

Though Snell grew up in Seattle considering 2010 Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez his idol, he originally fancied himself more after a different Mariners star: "When I was a kid, I thought I was going to be Ken Griffey Jr. And then I realized I can't run. I can't really jump. But I could throw a baseball pretty well."

To the victor …

Snell's reward from MLB for winning was notification Thursday he was chosen for a random drug test Friday. He tweeted: "how random do we think this drug test is!?" with several laughing/crying emojis. … Winning the award wasn't Snell's only big deal Wednesday, as he also had a Fortnite matchup with noted video gamer King Richard.  After the announcement appearance on MLB Network, Snell also did an ESPN SportsCenter interview. … Snell this week also won the Warren Spahn award given to the game's top lefty.

More Rays

LHP Ryan Merritt, who made a memorable 2016 ALCS start for the Indians, signed a minor-league deal with a spring training invite. Merritt, 26, missed much of 2018 with knee and shoulder issues but is said to be healthy. … OF prospect Joe McCarthy's Arizona Fall League season ended due to a right hand fracture but he is expected to be ready for spring training.

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