Tony Sanchez Will Make the Pirates Roster Due to Chris Stewart Injury

This isn’t really a big surprise, but Clint Hurdle announced today to the media that Tony Sanchez is on the team, due to Chris Stewart’s hamstring injury. The Pirates announced earlier this week that Stewart would need about two weeks off, which would have pushed him up to the start of the season. He will probably need some rehab time after that to get built up for the season, which is why it was easy to see that Sanchez would at least start the year in Pittsburgh.

Hurdle’s announcement today confirms this. Sanchez has had an impressive Spring, showing a lot of improvements with his arm and his defense. I think Stewart will get the backup job when he’s healthy, just for catching depth purposes, but this will be a good opportunity for Sanchez to try and change the Pirates’ minds about him, and maybe work himself into the plans behind the plate.

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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Sanchez younger than Stewart is about it.


One of the three catchers will be traded in the next couple weeks. For real.

Luke sutton

Sanchez likely has little value, Diaz isnt going anywhere, so that leaves Stewart (now injured and everyone knows he doesnt have much on offense) and our starting C. Yeah, no one is getting traded.


Diaz has value. Sanchez has some value, but likely would only be traded for low A prospects, or low round draft picks at this point. And they always have the option of training catchers for cash too. They’ve done that in the past and will do it again in the future. Mark my words.

Luke sutton

They do trade players for cash, but guys with 2+ years of control at minimum value almost never get moved for only cash once they hit AAA. Both players have value, but its not near high enough via trade than it is their position in the org. Diaz is not far off from starting C, and his trade value likely brings back at most a B prospect. Sanchez has to prove his defense can play or another team likely doesnt want him….and really neither do we if he cant continue proving he defense is legit.


If Tony Sanchez can Hit, he can play 1st base.


Good. Points.

Sanchez has a habit of throwing the ball into right field on strike outs. He threw one into center field on a stolen base recently. Yesterday or the day before he almost dropped a pitch out that was low & away. It obviously shouldn’t have been thrown in there, but still, Sanchez has to be awake for that kind of thing.

Scott Kliesen

Wanna bet?

Enrique Romo

Can anyone answer the question about Valle?


Google and Baseball-Reference say he’s not hitting real well, but it’s Spring Training and a small sample size. Beyond that, I got nothin’.


11/22 at the plate had nothing to do with it Tim? Really?


Congrats to tony, just hope he changes his walk up music. Not rooting for stewart to have a long rehab it’s just nice that sanchez is being rewarded for his hard work.


which one? or all 3 songs?


Let it go, I live near disney so the frozen overload is more accute here,don’t get me wrong I love disney,it’s just enough is enough already.

Luke sutton

While for me any Pirate is “easy” to root for to succeed, Tony is a guy i genuinely hope forces the team to keep him around. Never seems to be afraid of working hard on his game, always a smile, and a bit of oddball to him. Even when he was struggling, i never thought the guy was letting it change his attitude.


Congrats to Tony…

I’ll never root against a Bucco and hope he makes the most of his last chance to stick with the club.

Monsoon Harvard

We know that Tony hits well and is a good run producer in the majors, he showed that last season. Some guys who don’t hit much in the minors do much better once they get to the majors, I’ve seen it over and over in my 40+ years of following baseball.


I think that with Cervelli and Stewart as the top 2 catchers, the 3rd catcher might end up getting a lot of work. I could easily see at least 3 catchers passing the 200 PA threshhold for the Bucs this year.


That is a very good bet.

Mike Ulderich

How has Sebastian Valle looked so far this spring and where is he going to fit into everything once the season rolls around, particularly if Sanchez’s improvements stick and once Stewart returns? I watched a few AB’s of his on TV but was wondering if his relatively solid performance in the winter leagues was legitimate.

Jeff Rhodes

You’re probably correct that Sanchez will go back to AAA when Stewart is healthy, but if he impress defensively while he’s in Pittsburgh, you have to wonder whether the front office might rethink that plan.

If Sanchez was going down to be the everyday catcher in Indy, you could argue that playing time is better for him than riding the bench in the majors. But sharing the catching duties with Diaz — assuming he gets to play catcher at all — wouldn’t help him all that much and could slow Diaz’s development.

I think it’s a given that Sanchez is already a better hitter than Stewart, and if his defense is at least comparable, I’d rather he be Cervelli’s backup (particularly since it isn’t entirely clear Cervelli is an everyday player, either).

Kudos to Sanchez for making these decisions a lot more difficult than they seemed just a few weeks ago.

Luke sutton

Agree on all fronts, but they could still keeps all those assets in case of future injury to anyone this year and deal with the “who do we get rid of” in the offseason. Sanchez can get regular time with the bat at 1B/C in Indy if they want it, still allowing Diaz to get 75% of the playing time at C in AAA. Doubtful they really wanna throw Diaz up after only 100-200 at bats in AAA, so Tony can really be the rover this year.


There’s no guarantee Cervelli won’t get hurt before Stewart is ready to come back, given his history.

Sanchez and/or Diaz is going to get a lot of ABs this year. He’ll be an important part of that squad.


It’s amazing (and enjoyable to see) how quickly the Bucs have become very deep at several positions.

Mike Adamson

Wish they would keep Sánchez period… Nice bat when need to.


Mike: That’s a good point. He got this opportunity as a result to an injury to Stewart, but he obviously came to camp much more prepared this year and, IMO, earned the spot. Therefore, if his defense is strong (blocking/framing/throwing), he is a better all-around option and should stay regardless. Let’s hope he has finally put it all together.

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