Sanchez has minor injury after Pirates' 11-10 loss

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BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Pirates lost a game, but kept the National League batting champion.

Second baseman Freddy Sanchez left the 11-10, 10-inning loss to the Philadelphia Phillies today at McKechnie Field because of a right knee injury, but a magnetic resonance imaging scan revealed only a mild sprain of the medial collateral ligament.

His status is day to day, general manager Dave Littlefield said.

Sanchez was taken out on a double-play pivot when Philadelphia's Rod Barajas slid into the outside of the knee in the fourth inning. Sanchez remained on the field for three minutes, needed help to his feet, then left the field walking on his own and accompanied by a trainer.

"You take a deep breath, obviously. A huge one," Pirates manager Jim Tracy said. "I had my fingers crossed."

"It's nothing big," Sanchez said.

Although collisions at second base are rare in spring training, Sanchez took no issue with Barajas.

"I'm a big contact guy, and I don't shy away from it," Sanchez said. "It is spring training, I know. But you're still trying to get ready for the season."

It appeared that Sanchez did not leap out of Barajas' way, a point Barajas made later.

"I'm taught to go hard to second to break up two, and that's what I did," Barajas said. "I didn't come up high, and my spikes weren't up. I slid the way I've always been taught. Unfortunately, he didn't get out of the way."

Pirates starter Ian Snell struck out seven Phillies, including National League MVP Ryan Howard in his first at-bat. But Howard got him back with a two-run double in the third, and Snell wound up with a line of three runs on three hits and two walks in his three innings.

"I felt great out there," Snell said, smiling. "That ball Howard hit ... that's a good pitch. But that's why he's the MVP."

Tom Gorzelanny, another member of the rotation, fared much worse. In his 1 2/3 innings, he was charged with six runs, five earned, on two hits and five walks.

The Pirates were down, 9-0, but rallied for a 9-9 tie with a five-run ninth.

The Phillies answered with two in the top of the 10th off Franquelis Osoria.

Brad Eldred hit his fourth home run -- he has one in every Grapefruit League game so far -- in the bottom of that inning, but that was it.

The Pirates are 0-5-1 in Grapefruit League play.

More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


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