BRADENTON, Fla. -- Gaby Sanchez played the last four innings of the Pirates' game against the Red Sox on Thursday at third base -- the first public viewing of what had been a covert project since late last season. Sanchez hasn't played any position in the Majors other than first base, but he had played the hot corner in the Minors -- most recently in 2009, at Triple-A New Orleans.
"I started working out at it toward the end of last season. Taking ground balls, just in case," Sanchez said. "You never know. This spring, after about a week, they came up to me and said, 'Hey, how about catching some more grounders at third base?' You never know what will happen, but there's more opportunities in being able to play both."
Sanchez had one chance on Thursday, nearly triggering an around-the-horn double play on a grounder by Ryan Lavarnway in the seventh inning.
"[Sanchez] worked very hard at it last season and it was part of his exit interview, we told him to prepare for more when he came in this spring," manager Clint Hurdle said. "He's been working diligently here, so we wanted to get him in some games. We'll get him some more innings, get him some more defensive work there."
"It's a different angle," Sanchez said, "but I felt comfortable. I've been doing it for about five days now, getting my legs underneath me, trying to get that comfortable feeling. It felt good today."