Day 17: Tony Sanchez good at catching . . .flak
All these athletes getting into various degrees of hot water for their use of Twitter ought to take lessons from Tony Sanchez.
The catcher is easily the Pirates’ busiest tweeter, and he does it with an amazing and impressive amount of restraint (not to mention, a large dose of welcomed humor). You’d be stunned at the level of direct abuse he gets from people dissatisfied with his progress since the Bucs made him their No. 1 Draft pick in 2009 — and he responds to it tactfully, tastefully and with reserve.
I don’t think I could do it.
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Cardinals GM John Mozeliak irritated David Freese, at the time of his trade to the Angels, by wondering whether he might have found it too tough to play for his hometown team.
“Growing up in St. Louis, this could not have been the easiest place to play,” Mozeliak had told reporters. “I do think he may be looking forward to a fresh start. This was not an easy year for him.”
Freese resented the implication he couldn’t handle the hometown heat. But there is heat. Take it from Neil Walker, the one Pirates player who can relate to the situation.
“It can be a burden,” The Pittsburgh Kid said during a “Conversation” with me. “Fortunately, I’ve been groomed for that from Day One, getting Drafted by the Pirates. I’ve learned to deal with it, to know where to focus my energy and my time, making sure priority number one is on the field, helping the team win.”
Be sure to read & see the rest of the “Conversation with Neil Walker,” tomorrow at Pirates.com.
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Zach Thornton gave up that game-tying home run to start the ninth before putting his foot down, but otherwise the big arms in the Bucs’ deep bullpen continued to do their thing in Saturday’s 2-2 tie with the Rays.
Eight relievers held Tampa Bay to that one run in nine innings, while fanning 10.
The early relievers scorecard, through four Grapefruit League games (not including starting pitchers who have worked in relief, such as Jeff Locke and Edinson Volquez): 32 1/3 innings, five earned runs, 26 whiffs.