Sanchez hoping he’s the man for Pirates

Jeff Tully

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.”