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Lefty Sanchez impresses Bucs during BP session

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BRADENTON, Fla. -- It would be incorrect to say all other activity at Pirate City stopped when Jonathan Sanchez took the mound. But all eyes did turn to Field 1, which became the camp's focal point on Sunday for Sanchez's two-inning turn in batting practice.

Front-office types, personnel mavens and coaches congregated behind the batting cage to get a look at and evaluate the veteran, yet non-roster, left-hander's stuff.

Sanchez showed them plenty.

"He had a good day," said one of the interested observers, manager Clint Hurdle. "He threw free and easy, very good velocity, and threw some good breaking balls. We saw what we were hoping to see. He had some very nice sequences, for his first time on the mound. Now we hope to see the consistency that he'll need."

The initial interest in Sanchez is understandable: He could be a terrific find for the Pirates at a Major League salary of $1,375,000 if he makes the club. But his clock is already ticking, since he will be able to request his release on March 24 if not yet on the big-league roster.

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