The Padres claimed Hector Sanchez off waivers after the White Sox designated him for assignment in May. He saw a brief spike in playing time late in the year, flashing an impressive .286/.348/.524 line in a tiny sample with San Diego before Austin Hedges was called up from Triple-A El Paso. Sanchez was productive in the extremely hitter-friendly environs of the Pacific Coast League, mashing a career-high 13 homers in just 199 plate appearances. While Hedges projects to be the organization's long-term solution behind the plate, Sanchez has the requisite intrigue to be targeted as an endgame filler in deep leagues that require the use of two catchers if he can secure an Opening Day roster spot. Now 27 years old, there is no guarantee he will receive that opportunity.
Sanchez fouled a ball off his foot Wednesday, but X-rays were negative, AJ Cassavell of MLB.com reports. The Friars' backup catcher likely will rest for a few days before re-entering workouts. He's not set for much fantasy value this year as long as Austin Hedges occupies the starting role.
Sanchez signed a minor league contract with the Padres on Tuesday, Matt Eddy of Baseball America reports. Between his major league experience and his surprising success with the big league club last season, the Padres decided it was in their best interest to bring Sanchez back into the fold. However, the Padres are expected to give Austin Hedges his shot to be the primary catcher in the big leagues, meaning Sanchez will likely spend another year in either a backup role or in an organizational depth role.
The Padres declined to tender Sanchez a contract Friday, making him a free agent, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Sanchez was non-tendered for the second straight offseason. He fared well in a small sample with San Diego last year, going 12-for-42 with three homers, but he's a .241/.278/.354 career hitter. The 27-year-old had some concussion issues a few years ago but there have been no reports of head injuries in recent seasons.
Sanchez homered and knocked in two in a 3-for-4 game Monday against the Giants. Sanchez is hitting a cool .333/.364/.619 since returning to the majors August 31. Given Monday's news that catcher Christian Bethancourt is unlikely to return this season and Sanchez's hot hitting ways, look for the 26-year-old to get plenty of at-bats in San Diego down the stretch.
Sanchez went 2-for-4 with a solo homer in Thursday's loss to Atlanta. Making his first start since being recalled from Triple-A, Sanchez looked good again, continuing his positive results in a small MLB sample. He's now 7-for-21 (.333) with a pair of homers as a Padre -- and considering Sanchez's star turn with the bat in the minors this year (.324/.392/.636 in 55 games), there may be some sustainability to his performance if he can steal at-bats from Derek Norris. Considering Norris is hitting .185, that certainly doesn't seem inconceivable.