Tony Sanchez to get some work at first base for the Pirates

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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.

Nelson Cruz hits 400th career home run

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Twins DH Nelson Cruz hit his 400th career home run, a solo home run in the fourth inning of Sunday’s game against the Royals. The blast padded the Twins’ lead to 8-6, and was also No. 40 on the season for Cruz.

Cruz, 39, is the 57th member of the 400-homer club. He was previously tied with Andres Galarraga and Al Kaline at 399. Cruz has hit 163 of his homers with the Mariners, 157 with the Rangers, and 40 each with the Orioles and Twins.

Cruz entered Sunday batting .300/.383/.624 with 104 RBI in 500 plate appearances. Pretty good production for the Twins from a slugger on a one-year, $14.3 million contract. The Twins hold a $12 million club option for 2020 as well.