Tony Sanchez batting

Tony Sanchez Returns to Triple-A, Pirates Recall Josh Harrison

The Pirates announced they have optioned Tony Sanchez to Triple-A Indianapolis on Friday and recalled infielder Josh Harrison.

Tony Sanchez batting

Tony Sanchez returns to the minors after two Major League games. (Image Credit: David Hague)

Sanchez, 25, was called up one week ago to start as designated hitter for two games the Pirates were scheduled to play against left-handed pitchers, but Angels lefty Jason Vargas was placed on the disabled list with an injury. Sanchez started one game in Anaheim against right-hander Joe Blanton and one game against Seattle left-hander Joe Saunders, going 2-for-8 with a single and a double. The Pirates don’t need a DH until September.

From Tim:

Josh Harrison has been on fire in the month of June, with a .356/.385/.654 line in 104 at-bats. On the season with Indianapolis he has a .316/.371/.504 line in 250 at-bats. The problem is that Harrison has never carried his offense over to the majors, with a .248/.278/.354 line in 455 at-bats. Of course that triple slash line looks like an upgrade compared to Brandon Inge, who has a .207/.232/.272 line in 92 at-bats this year.
My guess is that Harrison is only up for a short amount of time. Alex Presley was optioned down to Triple-A last week, so he can’t come up until ten days pass. Jose Tabata is on a rehab assignment, and could be Harrison’s eventual replacement. You’d like to see Inge being replaced, with Harrison getting a shot. That would be a lot easier if Harrison carried his hot hitting in June over to the majors. Even with his poor career numbers, Harrison would be an upgrade over Inge.

Harrison is also 12th in the International League in OPS and keeps the Pirates at 13 position players, even though they only have four players (Starling Marte, Andrew McCutchen, Travis Snider, Garrett Jones) who have been regular outfielders  in the Majors. Harrison has played 14 MLB games in the outfield.

Sanchez returns to his productive Triple-A season, where his .951 OPS is 3rd among all International League players. Sanchez has earned praise for his offensive surge from the Pirates’ general manager, who notes there is still progress for him to make defensively.

“He’s swung the bat very, very well,” GM Neal Huntington said in his last media session. “Throwing, we’ve had some challenges. His errors are high because he’s working through his throwing right now… Once he refines that, we’ve got a guy that can do some damage at the Major League level, and he’s coming along really well.”

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James Santelli

James covers the Pirates beat for Pirates Prospects. He is a Broadcast Journalism student at USC and has written for such outlets as, Pittsburgh Magazine and the official websites of the Los Angeles Clippers and Pittsburgh Penguins. James previously covered the Pirates for Pittsburgh Sports Report. He also broadcasts play-by-play for the USC Trojans baseball team and was awarded the 2013 Chick Hearn Memorial Scholarship and Allan Malamud Scholarship. James dispenses puns at his Twitter account (@JamesSantelli) where he promises to write in first-person. Google

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  • leadoff

    From what I saw of Sanchez in ST, IMO, he is clearly a better catcher than McHenry, he might be having some accuracy problems right now, but the arm is very much major league.
    I can see it the Pirates way however, if they cut or trade McHenry, they hurt their depth and we know from 2 years ago how many catchers they could go thru.
    Also, IMO, the Pirates can loose a lot of different players and still make a nice run for the championship, but if they lose Martin, I think they will be working on finishing 500.

    • BostonsCommon

      With a 48-30 record going into tonight (.615 winning%), the Pirates would have to lose 51 of the remaining 84 games, or suddenly drop to a .407 winning %.

      Over half of the games remaining (57%) are against teams under .500, who the Pirates are currently beating a .652 rate (105 win pace). Additionally, exactly half of the games are at PNC park , where the Bucs are winning at a .658 clip (106 win pace).

      This is all having gone what, 11 or 12 deep into a rotation that should only get better as Burnett and Wandy come off the DL and Cole gets more comfortable. At this point, the’re going to have to lose a whole lot more than Martin to finish at 81-81. Even if their winning percentage drops to .500 ball the rest of the way, this is a team that is going to win 90 games.

  • Allyn Weimer

    Anyone else think Sanchez is better than the fort. I would argue that he should be the backup now but I’d rather see him get more at bats in indy

  • JayhawkDuke

    Sanchez is most certainly better than McHenry right now. The guys did a great job in the podcast that came out this morning arguing the pros and cons of keeping Sanchez on the MLB roster vs. sending him back to AAA for more seasoning. It makes sense to send Sanchez down now and save McHenry’s last option for next year. They’ll still have him under control for 3 or 4 more seasons and can use that last option to keep him in AAA at the beginning of the season if Sanchez is ready to play with the big boys.

  • Nathan Swartz

    Anybody else excited to hopefully see Yovani Gallardo leaving the division?

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