Found August 01, 2013 on
St. Louis Cardinals
Tony Sanchez gets his 2nd MLB start at catcher Thursday, and it will certainly be less nerve-wracking than the first. (Photo Credit: David Hague)
It was not his Major League debut, but it might have been better.
Tony Sanchez made his first Pirates start at catcher in Game 2 of Tuesday’s doubleheader against the St. Louis Cardinals, and it was a whirlwind. His favorite catcher of the last decade, St. Louis’ Yadier Molina, wished him good luck in the bullpen. He jumped out of the dugout to cheers and 40,000 sets of eyeballs.
“Nerve-racking. Overwhelming,” Sanchez said about that moment. “Kind of like all eyes are on you, just because everybody knows I’m the guy who has struggled the most. This has been a long road for me.”
Four summers after the Pirates drafted Sanchez in the 1st round, everyone was watching the 25-year-old catcher direct a 6-0 shutout of the Cardinals to keep 1st place in the National League Central division. Now he is back behind the plate again Thursday night, spelling Russell Martin’s day off to nurse a sore knee, to finish off a five-game sweep of the Cards.
“I know Tony doesn’t take anything for granted,” Jeff Locke, former minor league teammate of Sanchez, said. “He’s like a little kid up here. He’s excited every day… He can’t wait to be out there.”
“I’ve Been to the Bottom”
But Locke admits Sanchez has had to face plenty of criticism. Originally expected to take the fast lane to the Majors, Sanchez had to play 296 games between Double-A and Triple-A over the last three years before his first MLB start at catcher.
Sanchez often felt his Major-League chance would never arrive.
“Absolutely. I’m not gonna lie,” Sanchez said. “I thought when I was hitting .240 in Double-A my second year, it’s not gonna work out… I’ve been to the bottom of the barrel as far as adversity goes.”
So how did Sanchez push through injuries and a mediocre 2011 season to join the Pirates in the thick of a pennant race? How did the former No. 4 overall pick stay positive?
“You tell yourself you were picked at that spot for a reason,” Sanchez said.
Here he is now, the Pirates catcher of the future. His face lights up talking about catching warmup pitches from childhood idol A.J. Burnett, about hugging bench coach Jeff Banister (who Sanchez says has helped him from the beginning), about playing in front of Pittsburgh fans yelling his Twitter handle “Tony Montana” at him.
“I’m such an attention guy. I love attention,” Sanchez said. “It’s hard for me not to look back and smile.”
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle had no issue with his general manager maintaining the status quo at Wednesday’s trade deadline instead of overpaying for a Major League hitter. “The safety net is the existing players that are out there… That’s why you don’t have to be insane.”
Hurdle brought up Gaby Sanchez, Garrett Jones, Neil Walker, Russell Martin, Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte as players who could start hitting better over the final two months.
“They just think there’s more success for them on the offensive side with just a little bit more consistency,” Hurdle said.
The manager also shared a funny story about meeting a talkative fan, and Bucs Dugout’s David Manel provides the details.
Wandy Rodriguez (left forearm tightness) threw from 100 feet on flat ground Wednesday, continuing his long-toss program before he takes his injury recovery to the mound.
The Pirates’ have MLB’s second-best home record at 36-18, bested only by the Atlanta Braves’ 37-15 home mark. But the Pirates also have the best record in all baseball games, so…
BEST OF MAXIM
Per USA Today Sports: You never know who’s gonna show up to a pirates game. Check out this unlikely pair, seating close enough for a great photo op: a priest in a Hard Rock Cafe hat and a shirtless guy in a leather jacket wearing a Crocodile Dundee hat…
@fsmikey @FSBigBob "Hey a priest. (Glance behind him) Oh My God!" #mansweat #bucs pic.twitter.com/ABHASg9bv1
They said he would never return. Who said that? Well… (Photo Credit: David Hague)
Clint Hurdle had only one hope left. He tossed aside the morning paper, headline splashed “PIRATES LOSE 13-0,” and hopped into his pickup truck. He took the fast lane, following the signs for Indianapolis.
“Well, the man did say he wanted to get away from it all,” he thought.
FanGraphs projects Andrew McCutchen to finish the season at 7.0 wins above replacement. (Photo Credit: David Hague)
The Pittsburgh Pirates have a nearly 98 percent chance to reach the MLB postseason, averaging projections from Baseball Prospectus and Clay Davenport, and are expected to finish the season 93-69.
The combined playoff odds are the best in Major League Baseball and the...
TOP OF THE SYSTEM
A look at how the current top 20 prospects did today. Note that this list doesn’t include players currently in the majors. If a player is in the majors, he will be removed, everyone below him will be shifted up a spot, and a new player will be added to the bottom of the list. Rankings are from the mid-season rankings, and links on each name go to their Pirates...
Charlie Morton is one of the best five starters for the Pirates rotation.
When it comes to any player in the majors, you’re going to get a variety of opinions. You’re going to get different opinions on how good a player actually is, and in some cases you’ll have a debate over whether the player is even good at all. There’s one player on the Pirates pitching staff who draws...
In West Virginia tonight, Luis Heredia will try to bounce back from a tough start, in which he was knocked out in the fifth inning and picked up his third loss. For a look at the possible starters over the next few weeks, please check out our Probable Pitchers Chart. Check out the Recent Transactions section to the bottom of this page, for all Pirates minor league transactions. A...
In Altoona tonight, Casey Sadler makes his second start since coming back from a knee injury caused by a ball hit back up the middle from the first batter of the game in his June 30th start. For a look at the possible starters over the next few weeks, please check out our Probable Pitchers Chart. Check out the Recent Transactions section to the bottom of this page, for all Pirates...
Episode 15 of The Pirates Prospects Podcast can be downloaded or streamed below. This episode includes analysis from Nate Barnes (@NateBarnes_TPN), James Santelli (@JamesSantelli) and myself (@timwilliamsP2) on the Pirates. Highlights of the show include:
**The trade deadline was extremely slow. We talked about what led to that slow deadline, and some of the reported prices on the...
There are four lefties among the probables today, including 2013 4th round draft pick Cody Dickson, who threw five no-hit innings his last time out. Kris Johnson, who is quietly having a big season, will be on the mound in Indianapolis. For a look at the possible starters over the next few weeks, please check out our Probable Pitchers Chart. Check out the Recent Transactions section...
Pittsburgh Pirates Director of Minor League operations Larry Broadway updates the progress of prospects in the Pirates minor league system.
The Pittsburgh Pirates wrested control of the National League Central from the St. Louis Cardinals with a doubleheader sweep Tuesday.
They'll look to expand their lead with a sixth straight win over the reeling Cardinals on Wednesday night.
The Pirates (64-42) have won eight of 11 behind a starting staff that has posted a 1.95 ERA during that span. They've compiled a 1...
The Pirates have no more than lukewarm interest in Alex Rios.
Yesterday it seemed like the Pirates were close to a deal with Alex Rios. By the end of the night a trade for Rios seemed unlikely. Then Rios hurt his foot, which pretty much sealed it.
Jayson Stark reports today that the White Sox would like to move Rios today, but that it doesn’t look promising. He also says the Pirates...
RHP Jared Hughes has been activated off the disabled list. To make room on the roster Vic Black has been sent back down to AAA Indy. Victor Black was pretty bad while here, giving up two runs in 4.0 innings. He also allowed three of his four inherited runners to score, much to the chagrin…
I suppose that as bouncing back from 13-0 losses goes, this wasn't ideal. Really, what happened was that one bad inning probably kept the Pirates from winning this game. Gerrit Cole looked really sharp in the first inning, but his slider flattened out a bit in the second and he gave up a home run to Troy Tulowitzki. He certainly didn't have his best outing tonight, but he...
No last-minute deals for #Pirates. They stand pat.
— Bill Brink (@BrinkPG) July 31, 2013
As I wrote this morning, I thought that the Pirates had needs to address at the deadline today, but it's not actually an understatement to say that almost nothing happened all day. The Diamondbacks and Padres swapped Ian Kennedy and Joe Thatcher, the...