Bucs have breathing room in regard to Sanchez

Bucs have breathing room in regard to Sanchez

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Jonathan Sanchez has given the Pirates one of those "good problems." Turns out, Pittsburgh general manager Neal Huntington will have two extra days to solve it -- an extension that could give the left-hander one more make-or-break start.

Sanchez, on an eight-inning shutout streak following his five-inning sparkler Thursday night, can request his release on Sunday if the club has not placed him on its Major League roster by then. However, Huntington said that the team will have until Tuesday to respond to that request, with either the release or the roster placement.

Sanchez's next turn to pitch would be that Tuesday. Whether he gets the ball again, Huntington said, has not yet been decided.

If released, Sanchez would be owed termination pay of $100,000. If retained, Sanchez's Major League contract would call for a guarantee of $1,375,000. He earned $5.6 million last season between the Royals and the Rockies.

A veteran of seven big league seasons, Sanchez is one of five non-roster pitchers remaining in camp. But he may have emerged as younger lefty Jeff Locke's chief competitor for the fifth spot in the rotation.

"We've seen some very good things from Jonathan. He is battle-tested. He knows how to get good Major League batters out," Huntington said. "Jonathan has a lot of things working in his favor, but we also look forward to [Kyle] McPherson and Locke and where they are."

"It's hard to be waiting, waiting," Sanchez said. "I want to be here. If they want me here, I'm happy to be here. If not. … I've been in this game a long time, and I know you've just got to go pitch. Don't worry about making the team or throwing strikes or anything else. Relax and throw the ball."

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and 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.