Pirates catcher Tony Sanchez, the fourth overall pick in the 2009 MLB draft, made his big-league debut yesterday as a DH against the Angels. His first plate appearance came with two outs in the second inning, and it was especially memorable. Neil Walker was on first and Joe Blanton was pitching. Sanchez drove a 2-1 pitch to right field. The ball got stuck in the fence.
The play was ruled a ground-rule double, and even though he was denied a likely RBI, Sanchez didn't care in the slightest. He had been called up Friday to give the Pirates an extra bat for their interleague swing through Anaheim and Seattle, and he spent the weekend doing nothing to betray his childlike excitement at having finally made it to The Show:
Must. Not. Tweet.— Tony Sanchez (@Tony26Montana) June 21, 2013
We're really doing it Harry!... Thank you #BUCN for the overwhelming amount of support.— Tony Sanchez (@Tony26Montana) June 21, 2013
Here's to hoping the camera doesn't catch me with my finger up my nose.— Tony Sanchez (@Tony26Montana) June 22, 2013
Wow. What a night.— Tony Sanchez (@Tony26Montana) June 22, 2013
Room service. Ah thank youuu— Tony Sanchez (@Tony26Montana) June 22, 2013
Sanchez long ago established a Twitter presence that shows some genuine personality. As you can imagine, he was beyond thrilled over the outcome of that first at-bat. The ball remained stuck in the fence for the rest of the inning, which ended one batter later. Dislodging it so Sanchez could have a keepsake required a little help, and Sanchez milked the moment as best he could by later tweeting at right fielder Garrett Jones:
As you can see in the video below, the ball was eventually thrown in toward the dugout so it could be given to Sanchez. But not before pitcher Jeanmar Gomez pulled a little switcheroo by pretending to toss it into the stands.
One person in particular was fooled:
My mother actually thought Gomez threw my ball into the stands. She's been through enough pranks this year. Poor lady.— Tony Sanchez (@Tony26Montana) June 24, 2013
Sanchez flew out and grounded out in his other two at-bats before Andrew McCutchen pinch-hit for him in the ninth, when the Pirates rallied to score three runs to force extra innings. They added four more in the 10th before hanging on for a 10-9 win, clinching the first interleague road sweep in franchise history. Sanchez, to say the least, was completely humbled by everything that went down.