Pirates notebook: Sanchez feeling like old self again
SARASOTA, Fla. — Gaby Sanchez feels like he finally has his legs under him, his bat finally going like it should.
He belted two home runs deep into the left-field bleachers in his first two at-bats of the Pirates' 6-5 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Friday at Ed Smith Stadium, and he's off to a 4-for-8 start.
His explanation is simple.
“I'm healthy,” Sanchez said. “I'm healthier than I've been in two years.”
Sanchez had right knee surgery in November 2011 and never fully recovered — especially from the conditioning standpoint — through the 2012 season. In 105 games, including 50 after the Pirates added him at the trade deadline, he batted .217 with seven home runs.
“I don't think Gaby's had a chance to get into the kind of shape he's in now for a long time,” manager Clint Hurdle said.
“All I was trying to do all year was get to the point where my knee wasn't hurting. That was it,” Sanchez said. “After the season, I was able to get back to my old routine, heavier squats, power lifting. I feel really good.”
That could be promising for the Pirates. Sanchez hit 19 home runs as a 27-year-old rookie for the Florida Marlins in 2010.
The plan entering this season is to use Sanchez in a semi-platoon at first base with Garrett Jones, but he's also been getting some work at third this spring.
Going, going, going
James McDonald gave up three home runs in as many innings — to the Orioles' Brian Roberts, Nolan Reimold and Wilson Betemit — but all concerned shrugged it off. All three were off fastballs, which McDonald had been instructed to throw to improve his command.
“James might have wanted to get a couple of those down lower, but that's a good hitting team, and they're over there knowing fastballs are coming,” Hurdle said.
“My biggest thing is zero walks,” McDonald said. “I'm working on getting the ball over.”
Morton's BP set
Charlie Morton, rehabilitating from Tommy John surgery, has been scheduled to throw his first live batting practice March 10 at Pirate City.
He continued to sound optimistic about a return early in the season.
“I feel good. I feel stronger, even stronger than before,” he said.
Jeff Karstens (shoulder) will throw a bullpen session Saturday. Next step would be a live batting practice.
Russell Martin (shoulder) is set to be the designated hitter Saturday against Detroit in Lakeland, Fla., after an incident-free batting practice Friday. There's no timetable for his return behind the plate.
Earlier in the day, the Pirates announced they signed all 26 players on their 40-man roster who have less than three years of major league experience. A team can unilaterally sign a player with that status to any amount at or above the minimum $490,000.
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.