The Pittsburgh Pirates have sent Tony Sanchez to Triple-A Indianapolis. It says here that Sanchez shouldn’t be looking for a long-term lease on an apartment in Indy.
We saw enough from Sanchez during the 2013 Pirates Spring Training to believe he can play with the big boys. How much Michael McKenry does one team really need? Look, we know a lot of people love the Fort. It’s hard not to cheer for the guy. But our McKenry meter is about out of time, the Bucs need to prepare to move forward.
The pressure will be firmly on McKenry to prove that he can be a suitable defensive catcher again. The team talks about the pitchers holding runners on, and it’s very true and necessary. The staff was instructed to focus on the strike zone in 2012. It showed. Big time.
But McKenry’s throws were horrid in 2012. Numerous times Neil Walker nearly threw out his back lunging for a throw from Mac. Unfortunately, we didn’t see much improvement in Bradenton, either. Balls sailing into shallow right center field from McKenry’s once strong arm happened on a few occasions.
In the next few months, it’s time for Tony Sanchez to show the abilities that Pirates fans have been waiting for. When he was in Bradenton we raved about his defense in this article: Pittsburgh Pirates Tony Sanchez Put On A Show Today.
Sanchez has weaknesses as well; most catchers do, it’s a grueling, thankless position. But McKenry has just looked bad to us this spring, he’s able to stick around because he does get on base–six hits, one double, four walks, an .844OPS.
Sanchez only had three hits, but the slugging is sexy– one was a triple, the other a bomb. @Tony26Montana also walked five times for a .792OPS for the rookie. Not bad, especially when it’s easy to tell he is the better defender.
Let’s also remember that while some like to point to McKenry’s bat keeping him around, he vanished when it counted most last year. The Fort was overrun in September when he hit .167 and August when he hit .237.
Michael McKenry lunges for a pitch against the Tampa Bay Rays
With just over ten games remaining in the Grapefruit League schedule, we foresee a lineup with more of McKenry as the designated hitter and pinch hitter than McKenry in the lineup as catcher.
The only thing that will keep Sanchez in Indy will be Tony Sanchez.
Soon, very soon we trust, it will be time for McKenry to step aside and let the kid go to work.
That will be a pretty cool day.