PIT@BAL: T. Sanchez nabs Cruz trying to steal second

PITTSBURGH -- Pressed into regular duty prematurely when Russell Martin went on the disabled list, Tony Sanchez certainly has not soured the Pirates on their plan to make him their full-time No. 1 catcher in 2015.

Oh, Sanchez still occasionally displays his throwing yips. Most notably, he has twice misfired to first base with third-strike balls not caught cleanly. Two of his three errors have come on those plays.

General manager Neal Huntington shrugged off that issue, calling it a common problem dealt with by some of the Majors' better-known receivers.

"Without naming names, you'd be surprised how many catchers now in the big leagues have had a problem with throwing," Huntington said. "We have staff members and scouts who talk about having seen it when they were with other organizations."

Sanchez's force-feeding "hopefully enhances his development," Huntington added. "He just has to keep working through the challenges throwing."

The other elements of the 2009 No. 1 First-Year Player Draft pick's game have been solid. He has hit safely in all but one of his 11 games, and lived up to his reputation for calling pitches and blocking balls in the dirt.

"He's never been in a bad place with it, and continues to work to find the overall consistency," manager Clint Hurdle said. "We feel he has a natural talent for it, and that it can continue to improve."

First number, last word

0.94: Mark Melancon's ERA in PNC Park in 48 appearances since he was acquired by the Pirates prior to the 2013 season; he has pitched shutout ball in 43 of those games.

"Yes, it definitely is a little weird at first. But then you get used to it. I just wanted to see what he's got." -- Andrew McCutchen, after controlling the MLB The Show 14 version of Andrew McCutchen on the clubhouse big screen.

Worth noting

Casey Sadler gave up his roster spot for Monday night starter Jeff Locke, returning to Triple-A Indianapolis on an option after making his Major League debut with two impressive outings of two shutout innings each. Sadler will merge back into the Indians' starting rotation.

Jason Grilli (left oblique) played light catch for the third time on Monday and plans to do it once more -- then try it off a mound in the middle of the week.

• Martin (strained left hamstring) remains housed in the trainer's room but plans are for him to resume baseball activities on Friday. The total works: Throw, catch (squat), hit, run.

• The Bucs' 8-6 victory on Saturday night over Toronto was their second win in six years while committing four fielding errors. The Pirates defeated Arizona by a similar score (7-6) on Aug. 8, 2012, despite four miscues. They did not have a four-error game last season.