Prospect Sanchez set for jaw surgery

Prospect Sanchez set for jaw surgery

ARLINGTON -- Catching prospect Tony Sanchez will undergo surgery on Thursday after specialists identified a couple of small fractures in his jaw. Sanchez sustained the injury when he was hit in the face by a pitch on Tuesday.

General manager Neal Huntington said he had not received enough information to feel comfortable speculating how much time Sanchez is likely to miss. However, Huntington did say: "He's going to be out a while."

The Pirates took Sanchez with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, and with the recent promotion of three Pittsburgh prospects, Sanchez is now widely regarded as the organization's top position player prospect. He was hitting .314 with 17 doubles, four homers and 35 RBIs in 59 games with Class A Bradenton before the injury.

Sanchez had already missed about a week in June after being hit in the head by a pitch.

"I hope this doesn't set him back too long," manager John Russell said. "He had everything that I was looking forward to seeing. He's going to be a very good catcher. He has all the attributes. You can tell the energy level is good."

This injury will keep Sanchez from participating in Major League Baseball's All-Star Futures Game in July. Rosters for the contest were announced on Tuesday, and Sanchez was one of two catchers selected for the U.S. squad.

While it's still unknown whether Sanchez will be able to return this season, if he does, it's unlikely that he will see time playing in Double-A before 2011. Prior to this injury, the Pirates had been hopeful that the 22-year-old would finish the year with Double-A Altoona.