Jun 24, 2010, 12:45 PM EST
Pirates catching prospect Tony Sanchez was hit in the face by a pitch Tuesday while playing at Single-A and has been diagnosed with a fractured jaw, so the fourth overall pick in last year’s draft will need surgery that could end his season.
Sanchez was scheduled to represent the Pirates in the Futures Game during the All-Star break, but instead he’ll have his jaw wired shut and general manager Neal Huntington said he’ll be out for “a while.” Huntington added that it’ll be “a challenge” for Sanchez to maintain his conditioning and strength on a liquid-only diet.
In other words, that makes it less likely Sanchez will return before the end of the minor-league season even if the jaw heals properly and quickly. Ultimately he was unlikely to reach the majors until mid-2011 or later anyway, but stalled development combined with eating through a straw are never good things for a 22-year-old prospect.
Defense was considered Sanchez’s strength coming out of Boston College and he was labeled a “safe” pick three spots after Stephen Strasburg and four spots before Mike Leake, but he’s hit .312 with a .413 on-base percentage and .494 slugging percentage through 107 games in the minors, showing decent power and solid plate discipline.
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