Freddy Sanchez felt secure as a baseball player in the Boston Red Sox
Since being drafted by Boston in the 11th round of the first-year
player draft in 2000, the former Burbank High and Glendale Community
College star felt like a well-cared-for son in an organization that
had nurtured and cared for him for three years.
However, his association with the club was severed last week when
Sanchez was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates, ending his ties with a
organization he has grown to respect.
"[Boston] had been everything to me,” Sanchez said. “They did all
the things to help be with my career and I am grateful for that. They
really helped me become a better player.”
However, as the Red Sox are in the midst of a battle for the
American League East Division championship, the Pirates are going
However, despite playing for a team that has unloaded most of its
talent in this season, Sanchez -- a 25-year-old infielder -- likes
his opportunities with the club.
“I think I have a much better chance to be an everyday player with
the Pirates than I did with the Red Sox,” Sanchez said. “I just hope
I get the opportunity to play and get a chance to start on a regular
Pittsburgh has been notorious for shipping out talented players
and has been dumping salary this season. The Pirates have said
good-bye to players Aramis Ramirez, Kenny Lofton, Jeff Suppan, Mike
Williams and Scott Sauerbeck. Jason Kendall and Brian Giles figure to
be next to go.
In the wake of their fire sale of players, it’s not hard to
understand why the Pirates have been a team used to losing for almost
two decades. The organization that hasn’t won since 1992, has had
four winning seasons in the last 20 years and hasn’t been to a World
Series since 1979.
Sanchez joined the Pirates’ triple-A Nashville farm club Sunday,
but probably won’t spend much time with the team before getting a
promotion to Pittsburgh to become the starting second baseman.
Sanchez is with Sounds recovering from a strained tendon in his
Making his Sounds’ debut Sunday, Sanchez collected his first hit
in a Nashville uniform with a double to right-center. He ended the
game two for five with a run scored.
The top prospect in the Red Sox organization before being traded,
Sanchez said he had heard rumblings that the Pirates might want him.
“It’s nice to know that a team really wants you. It made me feel
good when I found out how much the Pirates wanted me,” said Sanchez,
a 5-foot-11 right-handed player.
“It’s also a good feeling to know I was traded for a very good
pitcher like Jeff Suppan.”
Sanchez, who was taken in the 30th round of the 1996 draft by the
Atlanta Braves as a senior at Burbank, was brought up to the Red Sox
in May and used sporadically -- mostly as a late-game defensive
In 20 games with the Red Sox, he hit .235 in 34 at-bats. On
defense, he was flawless and didn’t commit an error playing second,
shortstop and third base.
Although Sanchez admitted he was surprised that he was brought up
as early as he was by Boston this season, he was disappointed when he
was sent down to the minors less than two months later.
“My goal has always been to make it to the majors, and hopefully
stay up,” said Sanchez, whose first major league stint came in
September. “I hope that happens [in Pittsburgh]. “All I want is a
chance, that’s all.”