Sanchez becomes eighth No. 1 pick on Bucs

Sanchez becomes eighth No. 1 pick on Bucs

Sanchez becomes eighth No. 1 pick on Bucs

ANAHEIM -- And then there were eight -- former No. 1 Draft picks in the Pirates' clubhouse, that is, with Friday's arrival of catcher Tony Sanchez.

Sanchez, the fourth-overall selection in 2009 and the Pirates' 14th-ranked prospect, was called up from Triple-A Indianapolis before Friday night's series opener at Angel Stadium, with right-hander Brandon Cumpton being optioned back to the Indians in the corresponding move.

Sanchez made a gleeful entrance to the clubhouse that already included No. 1s Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez, Bryan Morris, Jason Grilli, Travis Snider and Gerrit Cole, hugging his way to his locker.

"I'm trying to be as happy as possible," he explained. "How can you not be happy walking into a clubhouse like this, being in a situation like this? It's tough for me not to enjoy what I'm doing."

That said, Sanchez's Major League baptismal has already been a series of false starts.

He was first recalled by the Pirates in mid-May, but on that occasion never left the so-called taxi squad, and returned to Indianapolis without being officially added to the roster.

Friday's recall was more official, but there was another immediate snag: The Pirates wanted his right-handed bat to DH against the lefties they will see during this stretch of Interleague games in American League parks. So Sanchez was due to make his debut start in Saturday night's game against Angels southpaw Jason Vargas -- except Vargas has just gone on the DL, and righty Jerome Williams will instead make the start.

So Sanchez may have to wait until Tuesday -- when lefty Joe Saunders is due to face the Bucs in Seattle. Of course, because the Pirates still have catcher Michael McKenry to back up Russell Martin, Sanchez can come off the bench in the interim, with manager Clint Hurdle now having at his disposal a bat that had produced a .306 average, nine homers and 35 RBIs in 55 Triple-A games.

"We looked for ways to firm up our lineup against left-handed pitching," Hurdle said. "Sanchez also allows me to have both McKenry and Martin on the field without blinking an eye."

"I'm very proud of where I am now, and how I feel at the plate and behind the plate," Sanchez said. "It's the type of confidence you want to take into a call-up like this."

Tom Singer is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. Steven Petrella is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.