BRADENTON, Fla. — To hear Tony Sanchez describe it, his introduction to Class AAA Indianapolis was as much about learning the intricacies of upper-level game calling as it was learning to hit better pitching.
“When I got to Indy and I had that pitching staff, it was like, these guys know what they want to do,” Sanchez said. “They know their strengths and weaknesses. They can throw off-speed pitches behind in the count to get back into the count. I could be a lot more creative with my pitch calling. I was having a lot of fun doing it too.”
Sanchez caught Chris Leroux, who lost some velocity due to a pectoral injury and needed to rely on his secondary stuff but still excelled as a starter. Leroux pitched a great start on the road at Columbus, traditionally a good hitter’s park, that stuck out in Sanchez’s mind.
“It was a really big boost for me as far as my confidence behind the plate, as far as pitch calling goes,” Sanchez said.
“From the time that he got there he turned into an amazing defensive catcher, intellectual catcher,” Leroux said. “Whenever he got there he wasn’t as good as when he left, that’s for sure.”
Sanchez had trouble at the plate following his promotion, but eventually came around in July and August.
“My approach is always, drive the fastball to right and everything else will take care of itself,” he said. “I’ll have enough time to recognize off-speed pitches and drive those to left.
“I started making that adjustment about a month in, and the batting average started climbing. I started feeling more comfortable at the plate, I started driving balls out, hitting balls to right field, center field, I started hitting really well and feeling really good, and then I ran out of time.”
Sanchez, who was Rule 5 eligible, went on the 40-man roster this winter, but the Russell Martin signing and Michael McKenry’s presence block his path to the majors. In today’s Post-Gazette, Sanchez describes his approach to the situation.
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