Tag: Tony Sanchez

Crotta Has A Good Inning; Indy Indians Lose Second Game

Blue Jays 5,  Pirates  3
The Pirates lost to the Blue Jays at McKechnie Field this afternoon.   
Pitchers Mike Crotta, Chris Resop, and Joel Hanrahan each pitched a scoreless inning for the Pirates, with both Crotta and Hanrahan retiring the side in order.  Crotta was aided by a leaping catch by SS Pedro Ciriaco.  Starter Paul Maholm pitched 5 innings and allowed 4 runs -- a solo homer in the 1st, then a 2-run homer in the 3rd.  Another run scored in the 3rd on a walk, a stolen base and a single.  Jose Veras allowed one run in the 8th on two singles and a sacrifice bunt, but he struck out the last two batters he faced to get out of the inning.

2B Neil Walker tied the score in the bottom of the 1st with his second home run of the spring.  1B Lyle Overbay and RF Garrett Jones added a run in the 4th.  Overbay walked, then advanced to second base on a wild pitch.  Jones' single through the right side of the infield brought Overbay across the plate.  The Blue Jays helped with the Pirates' final run in the 8th.  With two outs, CF Corey Wimberly singled up the middle, and he also moved up to second base on a wild pitch.   Three straight walks, to 3B Josh Rodriguez, pinch-hitter Andy Marte, and Jones, forced in Wimberly.  The Pirates tried a last-minute rally in the 9th, when C Wyatt Toregas singled and 2B Jordy Mercer walked.  A fly out by Wimberly ended the rally, though.  

Also in the game today:  LF Josh Fields, C Dusty Brown, RF John Bowker


 In Minor League Camp: 
Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs  6,  Indianapolis Indians  5
The Indians had an early lead, as they faced Phillies' star Roy Halladay this afternoon.  DH Tony Sanchez picked up 2 RBI with a timely double in the 1st inning, and C Travis Scott added an RBI double in the 2nd inning.  The Indians had runners on first and third in the 5th inning, when RF Miles Durham (on third) and DH Gorkys Hernandez (on first) pulled off a double steal, for the Indians' fourth run off Halladay.  2B Christian Colonel made it 5-3 in the top of the 8th with a solo home run.  But the Iron Pigs tied the score with 2 runs in the bottom of the 8th, taking advantage of two Tribe errors and a sacrifice fly.  Reliever Anthony Claggett then surrendered a double, which drove in the go-ahead run and gave Claggett the loss.  

2011 Prospect Watching; Sanchez and Fryer

Two Pirates' minor league catchers, who apparently had some kind of magnetism for pitched baseballs in their heads last season:

Tony Sanchez  --  R/R, 6' 0",  220 lb
The top catching prospect in the Pirates' system, Sanchez was chosen in the first round of the 2009 draft.  He had a 4-game warm-up in State College, then reported to West Virginia to finish the 2009 season, where he hit .316 with 7 homers and 46 RBI in 41 games.  Sanchez stepped up to A+ Bradenton for the 2010 season, and got right back to business.  He began the season with a .348 average, 3 homers, and 18 RBI in April, then "slipped" to .314 with 12 RBI in May.  Sanchez was working around some shoulder stiffness, which may have been responsible for the drop in power in May, as well as trouble throwing.  He threw out only 9 of 61 (15%) potential base stealers.  Sanchez was named to the Florida State League All-Star team (mid-season), and the shoulder seemed to be getting better, when Sanchez was hit in the head by a pitch on May 26th.  He was back in the line-up the next day (as the DH), and seemed to be fine -- he had 8 hits over the next 4 days, and appeared to be just days away from a promotion to AA Altoona.  But on June 3rd, he was hit with a pitch again, and this time it broke his jaw, requiring surgery.  That was the end of Sanchez's season, and forced him to miss both the FSL All-Star Game and the Futures Game.  With his jaw was wired for several weeks, Sanchez worked to maintain his conditioning and keep his weight up on a liquid diet.  He was picked to play in the Arizona Fall League, to help make up for some of the time he lost.  No one gets tons of playing time in the AFL, though, and Sanchez had to share catching duties with the other catchers on the team.  He was still trying to regain his timing, and hit just .206 in 18 games.  Now in spring training, Sanchez is healthy, and he's with the major league club as a non-roster invitee, impressing the management with his work and his work ethic.  Look for Sanchez, who will turn 23 years old in May, to begin the 2011 season in AA Altoona, where he needs to work on his game-calling abilities.  With a healthy shoulder, he should have a better time against opposing base runners too.

First Round Of Reassignments

Nothing unexpected here, though maybe a few days earlier than they had earlier suggested....

Catchers Tony Sanchez and Eric Fryer and pitchers Donnie Veal and Cesar Valdez were all reassigned to minor league camp this morning.  Sanchez and Fryer are both likely to begin the season at AA Altoona.  Both had their 2010 seasons at A+ Bradenton shortened by taking pitches to the head.  Veal is still in the process of rehabbing from elbow surgery, and is not likely to be ready to pitch competitively until June or July.  Valdez, who came to the Pirates' from the Diamondbacks (Zach Duke trade), has spent the last two seasons at the AAA level, but was a very very long shot to make the major league club to begin the 2011 season.

Minor league spring training games will begin in about 10 - 12 days. 

Pirates Fall To Phillies

Phillies  7,   Pirates  4

 3-run rally in the 7th inning was enough to push the Phillies over the Pirates at McKechnie Field this afternoon.  
Starter Kevin Correia had a shaky top of the 1st inning.  The first four batters he faced all singled, bringing in 2 runs.  Then with runners on the corners, Correia buckled down, getting a foul pop out then two strikeouts to end the inning.  The Pirates got one of the runs back in the bottom of the inning.  With one out, SS Pedro Ciriaco doubled into left field, and 2B Neil Walker moved him to third base with a line drive single into right.  1B Lyle Overbay also lined into right field, to drive in Ciriaco, though Walker was out when he tried to get from first to third.  DH Matt Diaz also singled, but he and Overbay were left on base at the end of the inning.  
Correia worked around a single in the 2nd inning, then retired the side in order in the 3rd inning.  The Pirates also went down in order in both the 2nd and 3rd.  Diaz tied the score in the 4th, with a walk and a stolen base, then a single by 3B Andy Marte.   
Brian Burres pitched the 4th and 5th innings, allowing only a double.   Fernando Nieve took the mound next.  The first batter he faced was Ryan Howard, who blasted a 2-1 pitch over the left field wall to give the Phillies a 3-2 lead.  Nieve gave up a walk and a single after the homer, but left them on base.  The bottom of the inning began with a walk by Walker.  Pinch-hitter Tony Sanchez bounced a ground-rule double over the left field wall, moving Walker to third.  RF Garrett Jones ground out to first, which let Walker score to tie it up again.  Marte hit the next ground rule double, driving in Sanchez with the go-ahead run.  
Nieve came back out for the top of the 7th, and that's when he got into even more trouble.  Two singles (one to former Pirate Brandon Moss) and a double tied the score again, at 4-4.  Nieve was relieved by Mike Dubee (whose dad is Phillies' pitching coach Rich Dubee).  Dubee gave up a ground out to second, which allowed Moss to score from third base.  A single brought in the third run of the inning, then Dubee got a strikeout to end the inning.  Bryan Morris pitched the 8th inning, and gave up the final Phillies' run with a double, a ground out, and a sacrifice fly.  Daniel Moskos pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the 9th to wrap things up.
The Pirates threatened in the bottom of the 7th.  Singles by CF Alex Presley and LF John Bowker and a walk by 2B Corey Wimberly loaded the bases with one out.   All three were left standing there when both 1B Josh Fields and Tony Sanchez struck out.  

C Wyatt Toregas also singled for the Pirates.  SS Chase d'Arnaud, RF Andrew Lambo, and CF Gorkys Hernandez all got into the game as well.   

Pirates’ Prospects Club The Manatees

Pirates 21,  Manatee-Sarasota  1   (7 innings)
The Pirates' top prospects and players fighting for a major league job got the chance to show off their stuff this afternoon in the Pirates' annual charity game against the State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota.  The Pirates pounded out 20 hits, including home runs by 1B Garrett Atkins and 2B/3B Brian Friday.  Atkins and Josh Fields, who took turns as the DH, and at third and in left field, each had 3 hits.  2B Corey Wimberly, 1B Steve Pearce, CF Gorkys Hernandez, Friday, C Wayne Toregas, and C Tony Sanchez all had 2 hits.  Pearce's two hits were both doubles, and along with a walk, he drove in 4 runs.  Atkins and Hernandez each had 3 RBI.  The Pirates jumped out to an early lead in the bottom of the 1st, with 3 runs.  Pearce's first double drove in two, then a sacrifice fly by RF Andrew Lambo brought in Pearce.  Wimberly began a rally in the bottom of the 2nd with a double, and the rest of the Pirates took off, adding 7 more runs in that inning.  The Pirates scored in each of their 6 at-bats (it was only scheduled for 7 innings).  

The Pirates' pitchers were not to be outdone.  Aaron Thompson began the game by striking out the Manatees in order in the top of the 1st.  Tyler Yates pitched the 2nd, and gave up the lone Manatees' run on a single, a wild pitch, a ground out, and a sacrifice fly.  Yates gave up another single before ending the inning.  Jeff Locke surrendered a single in his scoreless inning, as did Rudy Owens.  Mike Crotta struck out the side, and Justin Wilson and Kyle McPherson both struck out 2 batters without allowing a hit.   

 

Roster Updates And Playoff Games

An update on some recent roster moves by the Pirates:

Pitcher Jose Veras took a few days, but did sign a minor league contract with the Pirates.  Veras is a 30-year-old who was first signed by the Rays in 1998.  He began playing in the US in 2002, and split both the 2003 and 2004 at the AA and AAA levels.  He was granted free agency after 2004 and was signed by the Rangers for 2005, spending that season at the AAA level, where he made 57 relief appearances with a 3.80 ERA.  Veras signed with the Yankees after that, and pitched in their organization for the next 3+ seasons.  He split that time between the AAA level (2.56 ERA in 95 innings, with 115 strikeouts) and the major league club (4.50 ERA in 102 innings, with 94 strikeouts).  The 2008 season was his best of those, with 60 relief appearances for the Yankees and 3.59 ERA and a 5-3 record.  In 2009, the Yankees traded Veras to the Cleveland Indians, where he finished the last 3 months of the season.  The Dominican native made 22 relief appearances for Cleveland with a 1-2 record and a 4.38 ERA, with 22 strikeouts.  He signed with the Marlins for 2010 and began the season in AAA New Orleans.  He began the season slowly, but got better in May and was tough in June:  a 1.80 ERA in 10 innings (10 games) with 12 strikeouts.  That earned him a promotion to the Marlins, where he finished the season with 48 relief appearances.  In 48 innings, he earned a 3-3 record and a 3.75 ERA with 54 strikeouts.  Veras did not play winter ball this off-season.  The righty will be competing for a spot in the Pirates' bullpen

C Wyatt Toregas has also been inked to a minor league contract.  He was the Cleveland Indians' 24th pick in the 2004 draft, and began his pro career in 2005, reaching the AAA level in 3008 and the major leagues in 2009.  Toregas hit .284 for the Columbus Clippers (AAA) in 60 games in 2009, with 7 homers and 69 RBI.  In 19 appearances for the Indians in that season, he hit only.176 with 6 RBI.  The Virginia native was still on the Indians' 40-man roster at the beginning of 2010, but spent the entire season in the minor leagues, possibly battling injuries.  At AA Akron, he got into just 17 games, hitting .203 with one home run and 6 RBI.  At AAA Columbus, he was in just 14 games and hit .200 with 2 homers and 6 RBI.  He has a slim chance of sticking with the Pirates out of spring training, but will more likely be in Indianapolis to begin 2011.

In addition to Veras and Toregas, a few other minor leaguers have been invited to big league camp for spring training:  catchers Tony Sanchez and Eric Fryer, infielders Chase d'Arnaud and Brian Friday, and outfielder Andrew Lambo.  


Arizona Fall League Wrap

The Arizona Fall League wrapped up with the Championship Game on Saturday.  The Scottsdale Scorpions beat the Peoria Javelinas 3-2.  Each team posted 7 hits, with RF Adam Loewen (Blue Jays) going 3-for-3 for the Javelinas.  Loewen's first single contributed to the Javelina's first run in the top of the 2nd, but the Scorpions came back with 2 runs in the bottom of the inning, which included an RBI single by RF Bryce Harper (Nationals).  Loewen also singled in Peoria's 4th run rally, when they tied the score at 2-2.  Scottsdale took the lead again in the bottom of the frame, with a pair of doubles.  Starter Sammy Solis (Nationals) earned the win for Scottsdale with 4 innings of work, and reliever Cole Kimball (Nationals) earned the save.

The Mesa Solar Sox played their second-to-last game on Wednesday, losing to Scottsdale by a score of 6-0.  The Solar Sox were held to just 3 hits.  2B Josh Harrison had one of them -- a double to lead off the 4th inning.  CF Kirk Nieuwenhuis (Mets) and 1B Josh Satin (Mets) each had a single.  Harrison was the first Mesa player to reach base in the game, after they went down in order for the first 3 innings.  But he was left on base when Scottsdale's Josh Collmenter (Diamondbacks) struck out the next three batters.  Nieuwenhuis singled and stole second base in the 5th, but the other three batters in that inning struck out too.  Satin singled in the 8th, but was left on base.  The Solar Sox had their best chance in the 7th inning, when with one out, DH Matt Rizzotti (Phillies) reached base on a fielding error and RF Andrew Lambo walked (the only walk for the Solar Sox.  But C Tony Sanchez bounced into a force out, and a line out ended the inning.  

Tie Eliminates Solar Sox From Playoffs

MESA SOLAR SOX  5,  PHOENIX DESERT DOGS  5   (TIE)
 
Starter Justin Wilson pitched into the 4th inning and allowed 2 runs, but the game ended in a tie.  That means that the Solar Sox will not be able to catch up to the Scottsdale Scorpions, who have clinched the Arizona Fall League's Eastern Division.  The Solar Sox have three games remaining.  The Scorpions will play the championship game on Saturday, against either the Peoria Javelinas (1st place in the AFL West) or the Surprise Rafters (2nd place, 3 games behind with 3 games to play).

The Solar Sox got the early lead, with a run in the 1st inning.  2B Ryan Flaherty (Cubs) singled up the middle, and a wild pitch put him on second base.  1B Matt Rizzotti (Phillies) also singled up the middle, and Flaherty raced around from second base to score.  
Wilson worked around a pair of singles in both the 1st and 2nd innings, to hold onto the slim lead.  But in the top of the 3rd, Wilson hit the first batter of the inning.  Then with two outs, he gave up a 2-run homer to LF Brandon Laird (Yankees), and the Desert Dogs had a 2-1 lead.  

A pair of doubles, by 3B Josh Vitters (Cubs) and RF Andrew Lambo, drove in a run for the Solar Sox in the 4th inning, to tie the score.  A hit batter and a ground out by C Tony Sanchez moved the runners to second and third bases, but SS Jordy Mercer struck out to end the inning and leave both runners in scoring position.

Wilson began the 4th with a fly out and a walk, then was relieved by David Cales (Cubs), who got out of the inning without a run scoring.  Nicholas Carr (Mets) pitched a scoreless 5th inning for Mesa, then gave up two lead-off singles in the 6th.  A fielding error by Mercer brought in one run for Phoenix, and another single added a second run, giving the Desert Dogs a 4-2 lead.  

Jordy Mercer made up for his error in the 7th, when he led off with a solo home run.  DH Andrew Romine (Angels) singled following the homer, but was erased in a double play off the bat of Flaherty.  LF John Tolisano (Blue Jays) doubled and Rizzotti walked, but that attempt at a rally ended with a ground out.  The Solar Sox were closer, at 4-3.

Eric Neisen (Mets) finished the 6th inning for Carr, then pitched a 1-2-3 7th inning.  Brian Leach extended his perfect ERA streak with a perfect 8th inning -- two ground outs and a strikeout.  Eddie McKiernan (Angels) took over for Leach to begin the top of the 9th, and he gave up a double, then a fielding error by Rizzotti allowed that runner to score, and the Desert Dogs were back to a 2-run lead.  

Mercer began the bottom of the 9th with a line drive single into center field.  Romine walked, and Flaherty moved both up a base with a sacrifice bunt.  Mercer scored on Tolisano's RBI ground out, and Romine scored on a wild pitch.  But a strike out ended the inning and cut the rally short, and the game ended in a tie.  




Leach Continues Hot Pitching In Arizona

Mesa Solar Sox  2,  Phoenix Desert Dogs  2  (TIE)

Runners left in scoring position was the name of today's game, which ended in a tie after 9 innings.  The Solar Sox did a little better than the Desert Dogs in leaving runners on base -- they collected 6 hits and 3 walks, and left 6 men on base.  Phoenix posted 9 hits and 2 walks, and they left 8 runners on. 

All the scoring happened in the 2nd inning.  The Solar Sox began the fun with a walk by SS Jordy Mercer.  1B Josh Satin (Mets) singled, putting runners on the corners.  C Tim Kennelly (Phillies) brought in Mercer with a sacrifice fly.  After 2B Josh Harrison was hit by a pitch, LF Ryan Flaherty (Cubs) slipped a grounder through the left side for an RBI single, scoring Satin.  Harrison tried to reach third base on the throw, but was tagged out. 

The Desert Dogs tied it up in the bottom of the inning.  Chris Kissock (Phillies) started for the Solar Sox.  He began the bottom of the 2nd by giving up three consecutive hits -- a pair of singles and a ground rule double, which plated one run.  A sacrifice fly brought in the second run to tie the score. 

And then... no more scoring.  The Solar Sox had only one batter reach base over the next six innings.  RF John Tolisano (Blue Jays) lined a single into right field in the 4th inning, then stole second base, but was out trying to steal third.  3B Brandon Wood (Angels) led off the top of the 9th with a single, then DH Tony Sanchez also singled and Tolisano reached with a walk, between a pair of strikeouts (Mercer and CF Kirk Nieuwenhuis).  But a grounder force out ended the inning, leaving 3 runners on base and 2 in scoring position.  Add to that one left on base in the 2nd, and 2 left on (one in scoring position) in the top of the 1st, and that's the Solar Sox' 6 left on.  The Sox were 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position.

Phoenix was more effective in putting runners on base, but not any better at getting them across the plate.  BJ Rosenberg (Phillies) worked around a single and a throwing error in the 3rd, and retired the side in order in the 4th.  Brian Leach pitched a scoreless 5th inning.  He gave up a single and walked a batter, but got out of the inning on a double play started by his Altoona teammates:  2B Harrison to SS Mercer to 1B Satin. 

Three more Solar Sox pitchers kept the Desert Dogs from scoring despite runners on base.  Ryan Brasier (Angels) gave up 2 singles in the 6th, and David Cales (Cubs) gave up a single and a walk in the 8th.  Justin De Fratus only had to work around one runner on base, when he gave up a double in the 9th.  That added up to 8 runners left on for Phoenix, and hitting 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position. 

Next week will be the final week of Arizona Fall League play.  The last scheduled game will be on Thursday Nov 18th, and the championship game will be played on Saturday Nov 20th.  The Solar Sox have a 13-13 record and are 4 games behind the first place Scottsdale Scorpion in the Eastern division of the AFL.  With 5 games left to play, and assuming no more games ending in a tie, the Solar Sox are not out of it yet, but they'd better get going if they are to make the playoffs. 

Sanchez Homers Twice for Solar Sox

Surprise Rafters  6,  Mesa Solar Sox  5

C Tony Sanchez blasted a pair of home runs for the Solar Sox in their loss to the Rafters on Thursday afternoon in the Arizona Fall League. 

Sanchez's first home run gave Mesa the first lead in the game.  1B Matt Rizzotti (Phillies) led off the 2nd inning with a walk, and DH Josh Vitters (Cubs) followed with a single blooped into left field.  Moments later, Sanchez brought both of them in with his 3-run home run.  Rizzotti added another run in the 4th inning, when he drove in 3B Brandon Wood, who had singled, with an RBI single in the 3rd inning. 

Tyson Brummett pitched 3 scoreless innings in his start for the Solar Sox.  The Sox held their 4-run lead until the bottom of the 5th.  Nicholas Carr (Mets) pitched a perfect 4th inning, but he began the bottom of the 5th with two walks and an RBI double, bringing in two runs.  When the Rafters' runner stole third base, a throwing error by Sanchez let another run score, cutting the Solar Sox' lead to 4-3.  Robert Fish (Angels) relieved Carr to finish the 5th inning without any more runs scoring.  But Fish got into trouble in the 6th, giving up a pair of singles, then a balk, then a 2-RBI single, and the Rafters had the 5-4 lead. 

Eric Niesen pitched a scoreless 7th inning for Mesa, working around back-to-back fielding errors by Wood at third and Rizzotti at first.  The Rafters added an insurance run in the 8th inning, with Jacob Diekman on the mound.  A single, a sacrifice bunt, a stolen base, and a sacrifice fly scored the run.

The Solar Sox threatened in the 6th inning, when Sanchez struck out, but reached second base on a throwing error by the Rafter's C Salvador Perez (Royals) after a wild pitch on strike three by pitcher Blake King (Cardinals).  RF Tim Kennelly (Phillies) singled to second base, and Sanchez, who had rounded third base, was caught in a run-down between third and home, and was tagged out.  The Solar Sox went down in order in the 7th and 8th innings, but Sanchez led off the top of the 9th with his second home run of the game.  2B Josh Satin (Mets) kept the rally going with a single following the home run, and he reached second base on a ground out.  LF Ryan Flaherty (Cubs) walked, but the two were left on base when Wood struck out to end the game. 

Sanchez was the only Pirates' farmhand to get into this game. 

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