|Pirates' Freddy Sanchez aims to be ready for start of season after surgery|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 17 February 2008 13:01|
The Pittsburgh Pirates' All-Star second baseman reported with the pitchers and catchers Thursday and has been on the field early each morning since then, taking fielding and batting practice as part of his recovery from minor shoulder surgery in September.
His throwing remains limited, and he took ground balls without making a throw Sunday. He can reach 75 feet in long-tossing and needs to double that before he can be cleared for game action. Both he and the Pirates sound confident that will happen.
``My goal is to get here early, get my work in and be ready for the season,'' Sanchez said. ``No one wants to follow someone who just talks about it. They want to follow someone who leads and does the same things they're being asked to do.''
ad been worried before that the Pirates were looking to trade him or allow him to leave through free agency once he was eligible after the 2009 season.
``Pittsburgh is a place I know I want to be, and I think, when we do start to win, it's going to feel satisfying,'' Sanchez said. ``I've been around for the losing, and now I want to be around for the winning.''
The Pirates were 68-94 last season and made few changes to the roster during the offseason.
``I know we lost a lot of games last year, but we were put together to win and to contend, and I honestly believe we can do that,'' he said. ``A lot of us underachieved last year, starting with myself, and we can't let that happen again. Everything is new and fresh, and that gives us a clean slate to start over.''
Manager John Russell said the extension could benefit both sides.
``It put the organization at ease to know Freddy is ours and sends kind of a message that we're willing to do what it takes to keep our players,'' he said. ``We're not going to make stupid decisions or spend money just to spend money. But, if the opportunity is there for us to lock in a Freddy Sanchez, who has proven he's a solid major league player who can do great things, we're going to do that.''
Sanchez said he is determined to elevate his role as a team leader.
e to be a presence. Hopefully, if I work hard and go out and bust my butt, other guys will, also.''
Notes: Josh Shortslef, a left-handed pitching prospect, was removed from the major league camp roster because of shoulder weakness, general manager Neal Huntington said. He will be assigned to minor league camp for rehabilitation. ... Doug Mientkiewicz, signed to a minor league contract in hopes of becoming a utility player, began Sunday by taking grounders at second base with some tutelage from Sanchez. He also will play third base and the corner outfield spots during camp. ... Reliever Damaso Marte remained out because of the flu, and there is no timetable for his return.