Day 4: Daily Squeeze
One thing I learned in journalism school was that you know you’ve done your job as a reporter when you have so many notes for one story that you are forced to throw three-fourths of them out because you don’t have enough space. That was close to the case this afternoon as I was working on a feature about Tony Sanchez, the Pirates’ first-round Draft pick last year.
First off, Sanchez is a delight to talk with. Very engaging. Very cordial. Seems genuinely appreciative for the chance to be at Major League camp. But the praise he has already been receving from others was what really struck me. You’ll find much of that in the story on the main pirates.com site shortly.
But because I wasn’t able to use half of the information I collected, I wanted to share one thing from Sanchez that didn’t make it into my main story. We got to talking about his opportunity to join the high-A Lynchburg team at the very end of its season (Sanchez had been playing for low-A West Virginia) just in time to help the team in the playoffs.
Yes, he talked about how neat it was to win the Carolina League Championship. But Sanchez spent most of the time lamenting the fact that because he got called up for the playoffs, the catchers who had helped Lynchburg get there were forced to sit on the bench:
“It wasn’t the position I wanted to be in, though I know it’s a business now. Those catchers have caught those guys for 142 games. They were putting in the work to get to the playoffs. Then I showed up and ended up catching the playoffs. It was kind of bittersweet. I loved to move up and I loved to help that team win a championship, but I know that those catchers had worked so hard for their team to get to the playoffs. I kind of felt bad. But I did whatever I could to help them win.”
This seems to speak to Sanchez character very much. With him, you’re not going to find a guy who feels entitled to anything even though he was a top Draft pick. He wants to earn everything. And he wants to do things right.
Anyways, here’s the rest of your daily squeeze:
- Gorgeous day here at Pirate City. First real good weather day yet.
- The 16-pitcher group that threw side sessions on Friday were back throwing off the mounds on Sunday. As you can read here, they have pink strings and strips of rubber to help them out.
- Position players had the option of taking the day off (remember, there is no official full squad workout until Tuesday) and many of them did. However, the following 10 players still showed up to take part in fielding practice and BP: Jose Tabata, Garrett Jones, Steve Pearce, Doug Bernier, Brian Myrow, Jeff Clement, Brian Friday, Brandon Jones, Aki Iwamura and John Raynor. Of that group, only Iwamura and Jones have already been guaranteed Opening Day starting spots.
- Bullpen catcher Heberto Andrande has still not been able to arrive to help out with camp. He is stuck in Venezuela with visa issues.
- I asked Manny Sanguillen, who works with the catchers, how the group looked this year. He answered by singling out Ryan Doumit: “Ryan has really come a long way. I’m happy with his attitude, and he looks good.”
- When asked if he had given any thought to who might be the team’s Opening Day starting pitcher, manager John Russell succinctly answered: “No.” My guess? Paul Maholm, followed by Ross Ohlendorf, Zach Duke and Charlie Morton. Pure speculation on my part.
- Did I mention the weather was beautiful today?
- For those of you who have been asking when another video will be posted, be patient. I’m working on one right now that is going to include a handful of interviews. Hopefully I’ll have it up by the end of the week.
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