HOUSTON -- Pirates second baseman Freddy Sanchez will have his right eye examined tomorrow in Pittsburgh, and his return to regular duty looks doubtful until then. He was held out of the lineup last night after being pulled from the game Tuesday because of blurriness in the eye.
The blurriness has been a lingering on-and-off problem, Sanchez disclosed yesterday, since he had a tiny shard of metal removed from the eye in late April 2007. The shard, as Sanchez recalled, became lodged in the cornea during an April 17 game in St. Louis, though he remains uncertain how.
Eye drops and other medication have allowed him to have mostly good vision in the eye, but the blurriness he experienced early in the game Tuesday was "the worst I've had," he said.
"I was looking from the field and trying to see the names on the backs of the other team's jerseys, and I had to close the right eye to do it," Sanchez said.
The examination will be performed by Dr. Dasa Gangadhar, the same doctor who did the surgery.
The Pirates could be getting out of Houston just in time.
With Hurricane Ike heading toward Texas this weekend, the Astros today will determine whether to move up the starting time of their home game tomorrow against the Chicago Cubs from 8:05 p.m. to 2:05 p.m. to make sure it is complete before landfall. Thus, Texas officials could use Minute Maid Park for emergency purposes, if needed.
• Shortstop Jack Wilson will not be allowed to swing a bat for another week, manager John Russell said, to allow his fractured finger to fully heal. But the team has not ruled out that he could pinch-hit at some point. "We're just not going to push this at all," Russell said.
• Add pitcher John Van Benschoten to the list of winter-ball assignments: He will play for Culiacan of the Mexican Pacific League.
• Seven prospects, possibly more, will be assigned to West Oahu of the Hawaiian Winter League, including former Pitt infielder Jim Negrych, who led the system with a .359 average in Class A and AA. The rest are starter Kyle Bloom; relievers Eric Krebs, Moises Robles and Harrison Bishop; shortstop Brian Friday and outfielder Miles Durham.