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Sanchez among additions to Pirates' 40-man roster

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Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
The Pirates moved former first-round pick Tony Sanchez to their 40-man roster Tuesday.

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Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012, 4:24 p.m.

The Pirates added right-handed pitchers Vic Black, Hunter Strickland and Phil Irwin and catchers Ramon Cabrera and Tony Sanchez to the 40-man roster Tuesday.

The roster stands at 39 players — 20 pitchers, three catchers, 11 infielders and five outfielders.

“We had a handful of guys we considered and left off,” general manager Neal Huntington said. “You don't want to tie up your roster, but you want to protect the guys who fit the organization either now or going forward. It's always an exercise to work through who to protect and why.”

Sanchez, the club's first-round pick (fourth overall) in 2009, began the 2012 season in Double-A Altoona and finished in Triple-A Indianapolis, where he batted .233 in 62 games. Over four seasons in the minors, he has a .268 batting average, .365 on-base percentage and .403 slugging percentage with 170 RBI.

Cabrera batted .276 with 50 RBI in 112 games with Altoona and was 1 for 5 in one game with Indianapolis.

With regard to the pitchers, Huntington noted Black's swing-and-miss stuff, Irwin's three major league pitches and his ability to provide depth and Strickland as another guy with a chance to stick.

Black spent the 2012 season in Altoona, where he was 2-3 with a 1.65 ERA in 60 innings pitched. Strickland had a 2.98 ERA in 45 13 innings with High-A Bradenton and a 4.46 ERA in 42 13 innings with Altoona. Irwin was 3-0 with a 2.57 ERA in 21 innings with Indianapolis, 4-7 with a 2.93 in 104 13 innings with Altoona and 1-0 in five innings with Bradenton.

Second baseman Gift Ngoepe signed a contract in 2008, but because it was a 2009 contract, he won't be Rule 5 eligible until after the 2013 season.

Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at

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