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Prospect Sanchez provides Bucs catching depth

Prospect Sanchez provides Bucs catching depth

MIAMI -- Michael McKenry's status remains uncertain after he injured his left knee sliding into second base late in Saturday's win over the Marlins. Prospect Tony Sanchez was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis on Sunday to provide depth at catcher behind the dinged up duo of McKenry and Russell Martin.

Travis Snider was placed on the 15-day disabled list with discomfort in his left big toe in a corresponding move. Snider has just one hit in his past 14 at-bats.

"He's been playing with it a month, about a month with it," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Snider's toe discomfort. "He's tried different things. We tried to eliminate the pain, the discomfort. He's really battled the last two weeks, and it's just got to a point that we're best to get him down, get him off of it."

McKenry described his knee as feeling "stuck" following Saturday's game.

"It's still stiff," McKenry said. "I'm just taking it one step at a time."

Martin started at catcher and batted fifth on Sunday, and he drove in a run and scored in the Pirates' 3-2 loss. He also tweaked his left knee, doing so in a home-plate collision on Friday.

"Michael's being evaluated, Russell's penciled in to play," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said Sunday morning. "[Martin has] shown improvement. He's not back 100 percent. That might not happen for a while, but he's good to go."

Sanchez, ranked 12th on the Pirates' Top Prospects list according to MLB.com, is eager to prove he belongs in the Majors.

Although he was named the MiLB Top Star after hitting a three-run homer in the Triple-A All-Star Game on July 17, the former No. 4 overall pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft said he aspires to do much more than that.

For Sanchez, that means picking the minds of the guys in the big leagues, especially Martin and McKenry. The three developed a connection in Spring Training.

"We'll talk," Sanchez said. "We share ideas, tell each other what we think. There's no animosity there. We're like brothers. We play the same position, and we both love what we do. We pull for one another. It's genuine."

When Sanchez went down to Triple-A in mid-March, general manager Neal Huntington said the 25-year-old needed to work on his defense and adding power to his swing. Hurdle believes Sanchez has made strides in both areas.

Hurdle pointed out specifically Sanchez's work on blocking baseballs and throwing, as well as the catcher's continued progress at the plate.

"I think there's been incremental progress from the beginning of the season until now," Hurdle said. "He's putting together a nice little resume as he continues to work very hard at improving and getting ready for his next opportunity."

Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"event":["prospect" ] }
{"event":["prospect" ] }