Francisco Cervelli has a new backup, as the Pirates activated catcher Chris Stewart from the disabled list and demoted Tony Sanchez to Triple-A.
Sanchez was the fourth overall pick in the 2009 draft, but the Pirates have never felt comfortable turning to him as a regular (even though Sanchez tweets about being ready for an expanded role every year, like clockwork).
He’ll be 27 years old next month, yet Sanchez has logged just 155 plate appearances in the majors spread over three seasons and now rather than keep him a backup role over a light-hitting journeyman like Stewart the Pirates are sending him to Triple-A for a fourth season.
Phillies left fielder Ben Revere has turned himself into quite the power hitter. After ending a streak of 1,466 homerless at-bats to begin his major league career, Revere homered at the end of May last year against Boone Logan. He added a second towards the end of the season against Rafael Soriano, which was the final straw that motivated the Nationals to take him out of the closer’s role.
The Phillies played their first home game of the season on Friday night, an exhibition game against the Pirates. The Phillies entered the bottom of the ninth inning behind 5-4, but a Cesar Hernandez lead-off double and a throwing error by catcher Tony Sanchez on an Andres Blanco sacrifice bunt caused the game to knot up at 5-5. After Grady Sizemore flied out and Odubel Herrera struck out, the Phillies appeared to be squandering a great opportunity. Then Revere stepped to the plate.
The game, of course, doesn’t count for anything so Revere will enter the 2015 season still sitting on two career home runs. Pity.
Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that, during a Q&A session, Pirates GM Neal Huntington said that catching prospect Tony Sanchez will get some work at first base in the upcoming season. Sanchez won’t exactly be replacing Gaby Sanchez, as Pedro Alvarez is expected to play every day, even against left-handed pitchers, Brink writes. With Francisco Cervelli likely to get the starting nod behind the plate, Sanchez would be the back-up at two positions and would serve as a right-handed bench bat.
Sanchez, 26, ranked among the game’s 100-best prospects going into the 2010 and ’11 seasons according to both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus. In limited action at the major league level, Sanchez has underwhelmed, hitting .252/.295/.378 with four home runs and 18 RBI in 146 plate appearances.