Pirates activate Chris Stewart, send Tony Sanchez to minors

1 Comment

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.

Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name

Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images
11 Comments

The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan report that Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December. The fake name is Mason Saunders. Bumgarner explains that “Mason” is shortened from “Madison,” while “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name.

Bumgarner — err, Saunders — and one of his rodeo partners, Jaxson Tucker, won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition in December. The Rancho Rio Arena posted a picture of the pair on Facebook, highlighting that they roped four steers in 31.36 seconds.

As Baggarly and Buchanan point out, Bumgarner also pointed out in a rodeo competition last March, just a couple days before pitching in a Cactus League game versus the Athletics, back when he was still with the Giants.

Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in 2017 when he got into a dirt bike accident. Given that, Bumgarner’s latest extracurricular activity does raise a concern for the Diamondbacks, who inked him to a five-year, $85 million contract two months ago. Baggarly and Buchanan asked Bumgarner about such a concern. Bumgarner referred them to the club’s managing partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick directed them to GM Mike Hazen. Hazen declined speaking about “specific contract language.” For what it’s worth, Bumgarner says he primarily uses his right hand to rope.

The jig is up on Bumgarner’s hobby. He jokingly said to The Athletic’s pair, “I’m nervous about this interview right now.” He added, “I’m upset with both you two.”