Sanchez was called into manager Clint Hurdle's office early Tuesday morning and heard the words -- "Congratulations. You're on the team." -- he had worked for since early February.
"I came here and all I did is work hard and do my best," said the 30-year-old native of Puerto Rico. "You've gotta have faith."
The Pirates also made a commitment to Brandon Inge, another veteran who was invited to camp on a Minor League contract. Inge is likely to open the season on the disabled list as he continues to recover from a sore right shoulder blade, where he was hit by a pitch on March 14.
For the moment, "commitment" is the operative word, since neither was placed immediately on the 40-man roster -- moves that do not have to be made until the roster must be submitted prior to the season's first game, scheduled for Sunday at 8:05 p.m. ET, when Houston plays Texas.
Sanchez's Major League contract is for $1,375,000. Inge's deal calls for $1 million.
Sanchez started the spring living up to his reputation for having control issues, issuing eight walks in his first 5 1/3 innings, allowing eight hits and seven runs. He walked only one and gave up only three hits in his past two starts, however, firing eight shutout innings. Sanchez went 13-9 with a 3.07 ERA for the World Series champion Giants in 2010 -- a year after he threw a no-hitter -- but went a combined 1-9 with a 8.07 ERA in 15 starts last season between Colorado and Kansas City.
He will open the season as the Pirates' No. 4 starter, behind A.J. Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez and James McDonald, putting him in line to make his first start on April 7 in Los Angeles against the Dodgers.
Inge went 6-for-37 in 13 Grapefruit League games, appearing at both third and first base, although he was limited due to shoulder issues -- first from completing rehab for a September surgery, then for taking a pitch off his shoulder blade. He has been shut down for now to let his shoulder blade heal.
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.