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Pirates

Notebook: Sanchez showed up on time

Joe Rutter
| Sunday, July 27, 2003

ST. LOUIS -- Pirates rookie right-hander Duaner Sanchez showed up at the ballpark on time Saturday morning, which is something he didn't do June 24 in his abbreviated stint with the team.

The Pirates optioned Sanchez back to Class AAA Nashville that day, his stay in the majors lasting less than 24 hours.

"I woke up late, got here late and paid for it," Sanchez said yesterday after being recalled to take injured reliever Brandon Lyon's roster spot. "What I've got to do is learn from my mistakes."

Sanchez joined the Pirates with a clean slate.

"I don't hold any grudges," manager Lloyd McClendon said.

McClendon put Sanchez to work, using him in the fifth inning yesterday after Josh Fogg gave up seven runs. Sanchez allowed two hits but used a strikeout and double play to escape the inning.

This is Sanchez's third tour with the Pirates. He was called up last September and used sparingly as the Pirates worked to harnass his control. Sanchez can throw 100 mph, but not effectively, so the Pirates asked him to quit trying to throw so hard.

"I've (grown) a lot in the last year," Sanchez said. "Last year, I just tried to throw hard and harder. Now, I know I don't have to try to throw it 100 every time."

Sanchez is viewed as a potential closer, but the Pirates had him pitch in middle relief at Nashville so he could build up his innings. He was 3-3 with one save and a 2.93 ERA in 36 appearances. He had 34 strikeouts and 21 walks in 55 1/3 innings.

"What I try to do is have some movement on my ball at 92-93 and then get to 95-100 when I need to," Sanchez said. "I don't have to throw 100 all the time to get people out."

Although Sanchez is viewed as a closer of the future, his role for the time being will be in less pressure-packed situations. That was the case Saturday, as he entered the game with the Pirates trailing 7-2.

NO NEWS ON LYON

General manager Dave Littlefield and Boston Red Sox GM Theo Epstein did not speak yesterday in their attempt to resolve the Lyon flap. The Pirates contend Lyon has a frayed ligament in his right elbow and is unable to pitch, which is why they placed him on the 15-day disabled list.

The Red Sox, who traded Lyon to the Pirates on Tuesday, contend the 23-year-old right-hander was healthy when he was in their employ. The Pirates forwarded results of an MRI taken on Lyon's elbow to the Red Sox, and they were received yesterday.

If the Red Sox agree with the Pirates' diagnosis, they could take back Lyon and send another player to complete the trade.

"There's no new news," Littlefield said.

Littlefield didn't know whether the situation would be resolved this weekend or sometime next week.

BULLPEN SESSION FOR BENSON

Kris Benson threw a 45-pitch session in the bullpen, his first mound work since he skipped another start because of right shoulder stiffness.

Benson is tentatively scheduled to start Tuesday night against San Diego. More details will be known today when the Pirates see how Benson's shoulder bounces back from the throwing session.

"His velocity was good, but his command was a little off," pitching coach Spin Williams said. "His arm was in the right angle, and his breaking ball was OK."

Williams said the slight lack of command was to be expected considering the layoff.

"The main thing was getting his arm in the right slot," Williams said. "He had some problems with that when we shut him down. It was real good today. He sprayed the ball a little bit, but that's nothing to be alarmed about."

EXTRA BASES

The Pirates don't expect to get a ruling on Jason Kendall's three-game suspension until Tuesday. Baseball offices are closed for the weekend and the Pirates, have a day game Monday ... Shortstop Jack Wilson missed his second consecutive game because of a sore left groin. He made some progress, although it's unknown how many more games he'll miss. "As we speak, I don't think he's a DL candidate," McClendon said. "But if he has a setback, it's something we'd have to think about." ... The Pirates' farm system continues to have the best winning percentage among all major-league teams. Through Thursday, the six affiliates had an aggregate .593 winning percentage, which was ahead of the Cleveland Indians' .577. Five of the Pirates' six teams are either in first or second place in their respective divisions.

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