Now Commenting On:

{"event":["prospect" ] }

Former No. 1 pick Sanchez makes catching debut

Former No. 1 pick Sanchez makes catching debut

Former No. 1 pick Sanchez makes catching debut

PITTSBURGH -- The fanfare for Tony Sanchez, the Pirates' No. 12 prospect, was muted compared with the drumrolls for some of the Pirates' other No. 1 Draft choices, such as Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez and, most recently, Gerrit Cole.

But when Sanchez took his place behind a Major League plate for the first time in the nightcap of Tuesday's doubleheader, it marked the arrival of one of the pillars of organizational rebirth.

And the noise inside Sanchez's head more than made up for the relative quiet around him.

"Nerve-wracking," is how Sanchez described the first time he took the field at PNC Park. "Overwhelming. Kind of like all eyes are on you. Everybody knows I'm the guy who struggled the most. It's been a long road for me, and I'm finally back there. It felt like everybody, all 40,000 people were watching every move I made."

The Bucs' first pick in 2009, when he was the overall No. 4 selection, made his catching debut in a comfortable situation, teamed with Brandon Cumpton. It also became a spectacular situation, as Cumpton threw three-hit shutout ball for seven innings of the Bucs' doubleheader-sweeping 6-0 win over the Cardinals.

It reunited Sanchez, whose big league debut actually came last month in a pair of DH appearances during Interleague Play, with someone he often caught at Triple-A Indianapolis.

"It couldn't have been any more ideal than having someone I was familiar with," Sanchez said. "We were on the same page the entire night. No shakes. He made it easy for me. I had a lot of fun."

He also recorded his first Major League RBI, on a seventh-inning sacrifice fly, for the Pirates' final tally.

"Tony did a fine job game-planning with [Cumpton] as well," said manager Clint Hurdle, who hours earlier had admitted, "Everyone in the organization has been looking forward to this."

Speaking of looking forward, the logical timetable is for Sanchez to take over backup catching duties next season and then potentially become a regular in 2015 if Russell Martin departs as a free agent.

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. Steven Petrella 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" ] }
Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español