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Tony Sanchez ceding time at catcher to Elias Diaz

Joe Sargent

One reason Tony Sanchez has recently turned up in the Indianapolis box scores as a first baseman is that the Pirates think highly of fellow minor-leaguer Elias Diaz, Travis Sawchik tweets.

There are two ways of looking at this. One is that Sanchez hasn't turned out as well as the Pirates have hoped. The other is that they really like Diaz, and this goes back several years -- Diaz didn't have the most promising numbers in the low minors, and I asked Kyle Stark before the 2011 season why Diaz had gotten more playing time in rookie ball than an early-round draftee. He replied that the Pirates really liked Diaz's potential on both sides of the ball. As Diaz has come through the minors, his hitting has, in fact, improved, and now he's at the point where he's a serious prospect. He'll need more time at Indianapolis next year, but it wouldn't be surprising to see him compete for a big-league role in 2016, either as a starter or a backup.