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Tony Sanchez Talks Battling Criticism, Who The Pirates’ Next Cole/Taillon Is

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BRADENTON (93-7 The Fan) – Pirates catcher Tony Sanchez sat down with The Fan Morning Show at Pirates spring training on Monday to chat about his off season and how his career has been progressing.

Here is some of what he had to say to:

On how he has dealt with criticism:
“I’ve developed this thick skin throughout my years of adversity. It started when I was younger. I was the fat kid and everyone was making fun of me. Middle school and elementary school weren’t easy. I was the fat catcher who they stuck out in right field. They didn’t even let me play catcher. So it started there and then I didn’t get any looks in high school, and didn’t feel sorry for myself, went to [Boston College] and ended up having the best three years of my life. Changed the body, changed what I had to get done, and got drafted. Now I’m playing professionally, and I hit those first two years of struggle where I wasn’t hitting the way everyone wanted me to hit, and baseball was hard. It was the first time in my life that it was hard. Had people coming out of the woodwork telling me how much I suck and how bad of a pick it was, and you’re a waste of life, and you shouldn’t be playing baseball. So you hear it all, but, I mean, I don’t know. I just, you know, in one ear, out the other. I’ve heard it all. It doesn’t really affect me. You can’t let it affect you because then you’re going to be domed up. You’re not going to be able to play if you’re worried about what people are thinking of you.”

On what he’s learned as a pro ball player:
“What I was doing in my first two off seasons obviously wasn’t enough to prepare me for the season. And last off season- not this offseason, but two offseasons ago- I finally just said, hey, I need to listen to somebody. I need somebody to tell me what to do- what exercises to do, where to run- and they got me prepared. That was a huge part of my success last year.”

On the Pirates signing Chris Stewart to back up Russell Martin instead of having him do that:
“I knew that the front office wasn’t going to want me to play behind Russell. Russell’s the kind of guy that, you know, he doesn’t come out of the lineup. He plays day games after night games- it doesn’t matter. He’s one of those guys who wants to be in the lineup every day and that’s why pitchers love throwing to him. And that’s one of the things that I respect about him most is that he wants to be back there. So playing once a week, if that, in the big leagues is probably not best for my development, and playing every day in Indy will be, and I understand that. It’s all part of the process. When Neal [Huntington] called me before they made that signing, to me, it was a sign of respect- like, you know, Tony… we don’t want you backing up Russ. We see too many guys backtrack after backing somebody up. And I said, Neal, I completely understand. I have no problem going back to Indy and hitting my way out of there as soon as I can.”

On star pitching prospect Jameson Taillon and comparisons between Taillon and Gerrit Cole:
“He commands three pitches extremely well. He knows how he wants to attack guys… It’s almost inevitable for people to compare him to Gerrit, because they’re so much alike. They’re both big, huge presences on the mound, both have a huge fastball, and they have wipeout offspeed stuff.”

On who could be next after Taillon:
“One of my favorite guys to catch, that also fits that 6’5”, donkey mold is Kyle McPherson. He’s just a real pleasure to catch. It makes my life really easy. Just like those guys, he commands three pitches extremely well, and he doesn’t care who’s up there.”

On the Pirates’ surplus of fireballers with good offspeed stuff:
“These guys know how to draft donkey pitchers who throw fuzz.”

On how his tone has changed on Twitter:
“The Pirates weren’t like, hey, you gotta get off Twitter. That was me because, obviously, my filter wasn’t thick enough to weed out what I should and shouldn’t tweet. I took a year hiatus… and I’ve been tweeting with two strikes ever since, and I haven’t- you know, there have been some close ones. I’ve got a couple guys where, if I think it’s a close one, I’ll send it to them, and I’ll be like, hey, what do you think about this one? And most of the time they’re like, if you have to send it to me, don’t tweet it. That’s how I filter my tweets now.”

The interview can be heard here:

The Fan Morning Show will be broadcasting live from Pirates spring training in Bradenton every day this week. Listen to them live 5:40-10 a.m. and visit 937thefan.com to get interview summaries and audio after the show.

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