Sands is set to make an impact with Pirates
BRADENTON, Fla. — Jerry Sands wants this season to be a pivotal point in his career.
The enormity of the challenge of becoming a full-fledged big leaguer can be a scary thing for some players. But after putting together five successful seasons in the minors — and being traded twice in the past three months — Sands believes he is ready to win a spot on the Pirates' roster.
“I hope so,” Sands said. “I've had a couple good years in the minors. Not that there's nothing left to prove there, but the big leagues is where I want to be. I need to take that step up. I'm getting a fresh start with a new team, so I've got to show these guys what I've got.”
In October, Sands was one of two players named later from the August trade that sent Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford from the Boston Red Sox to the Los Angeles Dodgers. On Dec. 26, the Pirates acquired Sands and three others from Boston in the Joel Hanrahan swap.
Once upon a time, Sands expected to work out with some of his Dodgers teammates in early January. Then, he changed his plans to attend the Red Sox's minicamp. But, he wound up in Bradenton, Fla., where Tuesday he mashed home runs during batting practice on Clemente Field.
“It was all a little bit crazy,” Sands said of his unexpected journey from the West Coast to Florida's Gulf Coast. “I'm excited to get with a new group of guys and get to work.”
Sands launched two balls that arced over the tall chain-link outfield fence and crash-landed on the roof of the batting cages beyond left field. He's hit just four homers in 70 big league games but went deep 119 times in the minors.
“I'd like to be a power hitter because that can take you a long way,” Sands said. “But I don't want to be one of those guys who has power but doesn't do anything else. I'd like to be an all-around hitter who uses power to my advantage.”
Sands, 25, can play right field and first base, meaning he will compete for playing time with Garrett Jones, Gaby Sanchez, Travis Snider and Jose Tabata. It's possible one or two of those players could be traded, which would clear up the picture of who starts where for the Pirates. Sands is open to playing either position.
“If you'd have asked me a couple of years ago, I would've said outfield,” Sands said. “But I've been playing first base quite a bit these past few years. I've played outfield most of my life, so I probably have another step or two out there, as compared to first base. But I feel comfortable at either spot.”
Taillon on track
Jameson Taillon, who just seven weeks ago turned 21, made steady progress toward the majors last summer. The right-hander went 6-8 with a 3.82 ERA and 1.168 WHIP at High-A Bradenton and 3-0 with a 1.59 ERA and 0.706 WHIP at Double-A Altoona.
“It was an interesting year,” Taillon said. “I had a real good start in Bradenton, then kind of hit a wall for a bit. I learned a lot there about myself. Eventually, I got the callup to Double-A. It was only for a month or so, but it was really big for me to see how it is. I felt like I took a big step, on and off the field, as a professional player.”
Taillon almost likely will begin the 2013 season at Altoona.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates bolster bullpen by trading for former closer Soria
- Pirates’ Burnett endures another poor start in blowout loss to Reds
- Pirates notebook: Blanton introduced; Worley designated for assignment
- Gameday: Pirates at Reds, July 31, 2015
- Pirates acquire pitcher Blanton from Royals for cash
- Pirates notebook: Melancon bails out Watson with extended outing
- Gameday: Pirates at Reds, July 30, 2015
- Pirates notebook: Prospect Tucker unaware of ‘trade’ frenzy
- Cole collects MLB-best 14th win as Pirates take series against Nationals
- Kang’s 9th-inning home run gives Pirates wild victory over Twins
- Pirates notebook: No sign of improvement for RHP Sadler