Gaby Sanchez (14) days until Opening Day.
After being acquired from Miami in July, Sanchez starts his first full season with the Bucs and appears to be fully healthy.
Three questions about number 14…
1. Can he bounce back offensively? He put together solid seasons in 2010 (4th in NL Rookie of Year voting) and 2011 (National League All-Star), but struggled in a 2012 campaign that included a trip to the minors. While Grapefruit League play is not a good indicator for the regular season, Sanchez has been hitting the ball hard (.310 avg, 3 HR, 1.072 OPS), so it’ll be interesting to see if he can produce at the plate this season.
2. How much will he play? Garrett Jones had a big year in 2012, but still has some difficulties against left-handed pitching. Gaby has strong splits against southpaws, so he could rest Jones at first base. He’ll be useful off the bench as well. Lots of at-bats could help Sanchez, but it’s tough to gauge how much playing time he’ll receive.
3. Will he play any third base? He hasn’t played there in the big leagues, but did get some action at the hot corner in the minors. Gaby has played third at times this spring, and he could be a huge asset to the club if he can back up Pedro Alvarez and play a decent 3B.