Pirates Catcher Sent Home From Dominican Winter League

With Russell Martin gone to Toronto, Tony Sanchez was determined to be the No. 1 catcher in Pittsburgh – even with the arrival of Francisco Cervelli.

Tom Singer of MLB.com reported last month:

First Russell Martin, then Chris Stewart and now Francisco Cervelli have come from the Yankees to test Sanchez’s patience and his resolve.

Pittsburgh may not be big enough for both Cervelli and Sanchez. Actually, Wednesday even the United States wasn’t big enough: A few hours before Cervelli came, Sanchez left for the Dominican Republic to play winter ball.

Sanchez has been up for this game of keep away, always offering a reaction to the Bucs’ action through his popular Twitter account.

Within minutes of the announcement Wednesday night of Cervelli’s acquisition, Sanchez tweeted, “Good. Competition brings the best out of me.”

So far, well …

SAN DIEGO — Pirates catcher Tony Sanchez was forced to make an early exit from the Dominican Winter League. After playing in just 10 games with Toros del Este, Sanchez was told by the team to go back to the United States.

“They sent me home,” Sanchez said by phone Wednesday. “I don’t blame them. The reason is, I did so poorly. I couldn’t hit.”

Sanchez had three hits in 30 at-bats. He also made two throwing errors.

The Tribune-Review said the DWL was the wrong place for Sanchez, who was working on some things:

Sanchez wanted to use winter ball to work on his two-strike approach at the plate. That meant he purposely got into a lot of deep counts. That did not lead to a lot of hits, but he said it was beneficial to gain the experience.

“In hindsight, the Dominican League is the worst place to work on a two-strike approach,” Sanchez said. “Plus, I took about a month and a half off before I went down there. I kind of set myself up for failure.”

Sanchez – the No. 4 pick in the 2009 draft – is expected to open the season at Triple A Indianapolis.

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