Pirates Notebook: Sanchez rested for wrist
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Tom Gannam, Associated Press
Jose Bautista falls into the stands after catching a foul ball hit by the Cardinals' Jim Edmonds in the eighth inning yesterday in St. Louis.
ST. LOUIS -- The No. 1 injury concern for any hitter is his wrist.
And the No. 1 way to hurt the wrist is on a check swing.
So, it has to raise a red flag that Freddy Sanchez was scratched from the Pirates' lineup yesterday because of a sore left wrist. And that he hurt it when holding back a swing in his first at-bat Monday night. And that it bothered him again in the Busch Stadium batting cages yesterday morning.
ALTOONA (3-5) split a doubleheader at Bowie, losing, 1-0, and winning, 7-5. In the first game, RHP Wardell Starling (0-2, 7.88) allowed one run in six innings. In the second game, RHP Yoslan Herrera (0-0, 5.00) allowed four runs and seven hits in four innings. He struck out three, walked two and hit a batter. For the day, CF Andrew McCutchen (.111) struck out in all four at-bats. 3B Neil Walker (.281) went 0 for 7 with two strikeouts and committed his fourth error.
LYNCHBURG (3-5) was swept in a doubleheader at Frederick, 5-2 and 3-0. In the first game, LHP Kyle Bloom (1-1, 4.22) allowed five runs in 3 2/3 innings. In the second game, RHP Clayton Hamilton (0-1, 14.29) allowed three runs in five innings. 1B Steve Pearce (.200) hit his first home run.
HICKORY (5-4) was off.
Still, all concerned insisted the worry was minimal, and Pirates manager Jim Tracy did not rule out that Sanchez could be back as early as the game tonight in Milwaukee.
"We're hopeful of that," Tracy said.
No X-rays or other examinations have been taken yet, and none is scheduled. Rather, Sanchez will try another round in the cage this afternoon at Miller Park.
"I just didn't feel like I could go out and do anything," Sanchez said of why he did not play yesterday. "I wasn't going to be able to help the team."
Sanchez described his symptoms as similar to an ailment in the same wrist that forced him to miss a game late last season, Sept. 24 in San Diego. He was back the next day.
"That's what I'm hoping for, that it's something like that," Sanchez said.
After Sanchez's critical check swing Monday, he singled to left, then tripled, walked and lined out.
Jose Castillo emerged from mothballs -- one plate appearance in the previous seven games -- to take Sanchez's place at second base. And he acquitted himself well considering the rust, hitting a ground-rule double and making three defensive gems, enough to offset an error and getting caught in a sixth-inning rundown between third and home.
Last week, Castillo made clear his dissatisfaction with so little duty, and Tracy acknowledged that yesterday.
"He understands the role he's serving, and I understand it's not something he's enamored with," Tracy said. "I can tell you that we will continue looking for opportunities to keep involving him, so long as the work ethic is there."
"It was good to be out there," Castillo said.
High praise for starters
Although Ian Snell and Tom Gorzelanny were dominant in this two-game set, the Pirates' starters own a combined 4-4 record with a 4.02 ERA, the latter ranking 10th in the National League.
Still, the rotation drew eyebrow-raising praise from first baseman Adam LaRoche, especially considering his previous employer was the Atlanta Braves.
"I don't know if I've been around pitching this solid in my three years in the majors," LaRoche said. "It's been unbelievable what these starters are doing. If they keep doing that and we can put up four, five six runs, we're going to be good."
Outfielder Xavier Nady nearly was scratched because of a stiff neck, but a smooth round of batting practice convinced Tracy to use him.
The Pirates tripled their season total for stolen bases by taking two, one by Chris Duffy, the other by Nady. The only previous one belonged to Duffy April 7.
The victory was the 500th of Tracy's career. He is one of 12 active managers to achieve the milestone.
First Published April 17, 2007 11:07 pm