Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Neal Huntington may have an interesting predicament when catcher Chris Stewart is ready to come off the 15-day disabled list and return to the team.
Backup catcher Tony Sanchez has been coming through for Clint Hurdle’s crew with a game-winning hit in two of the Pirates’ five wins. He has made the most with his eight at-bats over three games by posting four RBIs entering Wednesday’s contest against the Cubs in Chicago. Only cleanup hitter Pedro Alvarez has driven in more runs, with five.
In 2013, Sanchez hit .282 with 10 home runs and 42 RBI over 80 games with Triple-A Indianapolis.
If Sanchez can continue to produce offensively – plus hold his own on defense – are the Pirates prepared to send Stewart packing? Is the sample size too small at this point? Stewart, a veteran catcher from Fontana, Calif., is making just $1 million, so the Black and Gold could absorb the hit on the books.
Last season, Stewart hit .239 with one home run and six RBI in 17 games with the New York Yankees, but he has a strong defensive reputation that attracted the Pirates in free agency this winter. He is currently on rehab assignment in the minor leagues, jumping from High-A Bradenton to Indianapolis this week.
Is it time to think about keeping Sanchez with the rest of the Jolly Roger gang to back up Russell Martin?