Blue Jays sign ex-Pirates prospect Tony Sanchez

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Tony Sanchez, a 28-year-old former top catching prospect released by the Pirates last month, has joined the Blue Jays on a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Sanchez never lived up to the hype of being the No. 4 overall pick in the 2009 draft and the Pirates repeatedly brought in other catching options rather than give him a permanent gig.

However, his minor-league track record is decent enough that a change of scenery could be all Sanchez needs to find a niche as a backup catcher in the majors. He’s hit .259 with a .681 OPS in brief stints as a big leaguer and has a career .758 OPS in parts of four seasons at Triple-A.

Sanchez will compete with Josh Thole to back up clear-cut starter Russell Martin in Toronto, but Thole’s experience catching knuckleballer R.A. Dickey could make things tough on Sanchez.