With Stewart out for the start of the regular season, it remained unclear who would handle the backup catching duties. Prospect Tony Sanchez currently sits behind starter Russell Martin on the depth chart, but the Pirates have expressed their desire to have Sanchez playing in an everyday role at Triple-A as opposed to once a week in the Majors behind Martin. Sanchez is rated No. 14 on MLB.com's list of the Pirates' top prospects.
The only other in-house options beyond Sanchez are Nevin Ashley and Omir Santos, both of whom received invitations to Major League camp after signing Minor League contracts. The lack of depth options could lead the Pirates to pursue a veteran backup through the trade market, allowing Sanchez to begin the year with Triple-A Indianapolis.
Paul Casella is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @paul_casella. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.