With Stewart's hamstring injury keeping him out for at least two more weeks, Sanchez will likely make the Pirates' Opening Day Roster. Also helping Sanchez is the fact he's had a teriffic spring, batting .526 with a 1.518 OPS.
"It's way too early to tell if a DL assignment will be required [for Stewart]," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. "The nice part is, Sanchez has had a great camp on all sides of the game, and if Chris is not ready, we feel strongly about having somebody who can step in."
A year ago, Stewart had a knee injury that allowed Sanchez to break camp on the 25-man roster as one of the Pirates' catchers. But Stewart did have minor knee surgery and returned in only one month.
Even so, the Pirates could once again be relying on Sanchez on the roster in April.
"Our focus is on continuing to help Sanchez be ready, if needed," Huntington summed up. "And if [Stewart] is ready to go, we'll have a lot of catching depth."