BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Pirates trimmed their Spring Training roster Friday, when they optioned catcher Tony Sanchez and left-hander Andy Oliver to Triple-A Indianapolis.
Sanchez, who has progressed rather slowly since the Pirates selected him fourth overall in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, made a positive impression in camp, despite hitting only .167 in 18 at-bats over nine games.
"He worked hard this offseason and carried that over. Tony showed up very, very well," said Pirates general manager Neal Huntington. "There were a lot of things for him to build on as he goes out. He has to continue to work on his defensive game and on being a hitter who has power."
Sanchez hit .233 with eight homers and 26 RBIs in 62 games during his first stint in Triple-A last season, which he started with Double-A Altoona, where he hit .277 before his promotion.
The 25-year-old Oliver was acquired in a trade from the Tigers in December and struggled this spring, posting a 13.50 ERA over 3 1/3 innings in three appearances.
Oliver went 5-9 with a 4.88 ERA in 28 appearances (19 starts) last season for Triple-A Toledo in the Tigers' organization. He has made seven big league appearances, most recently in 2011, when he started twice and allowed seven runs in 9 2/3 innings for Detroit.
"We still feel the way we did when we acquired Oliver: We love the arm," Huntington said. "We've got some work to do to help him. We'll get him in the Triple-A rotation and can come up and help us as a starter or out of the bullpen."
The Pirates now have 49 players in Major League camp, including 17 non-roster invitees.
That number includes Jason Grilli, expected back in camp Saturday following his stint in the World Baseball Classic with Italy, and Wandy Rodriguez, still a Classic participant scheduled to start the Dominican Republic's Saturday game.
Tom Singer and Matt Weber are reporters for MLB.com. Singer writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less