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Photo Credit: Christopher Horner (Tribune Review)

The Pittsburgh Pirates made their first round of Spring Training cuts.  The announcement was made this morning, reassigning four players to Minor League camp, including Tony Sanchez, Eric Fryer, Cesar Valdez and Donnie Veal.
The most notable name on this list is Sanchez, who will begin the year in Double-A presumably.  Tony was the team’s first-round pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, and so far this spring, he has been tagging along behind Chris Snyder and Ryan Doumit at the catcher position.
The reason given for sending Sanchez down in the first wave of cuts was so he could begin getting consistent playing time to prepare for the season.  It doesn’t make sense for a young talent like Sanchez to sit on the bench throughout the Pirates’ Spring Training when he could further develop at the minor league level.
“This was an opportunity for him to get to experience a Major League clubhouse environment,” Pirates’ manager Clint Hurdle said. “As we put this new group together, we wanted him in here for a few weeks to embrace him, to encourage him on the heels of last season.”
Fryer played in Class A last year with Sanchez, but missed a lot of time due to injury.  It is unknown whether he will begin the season in Bradenton or if he will move to Altoona to be Sanchez’s backup with the Curve.
Obviously, Veal is in a much different situation than the rest of his teammates sent to Minor League camp today.  Donnie, of course, is working through his rehab program following Tommy John surgery, and while he wasn’t expected to be fully recovered at this point, the Pirates aren’t ruling out a May or June return.
Finally, Valdez’s spot on the Pirates’ roster is still in discussion.  Acquired when the Pirates traded Zach Duke to the Arizona Diamondbacks, Valdez will most likely be starting the season in Triple-A Indianapolis, at least until the Pirates decide on whether he is best suited for a starting or relieving role.
The Pirates now have 58 players remaining in Major League camp.  As more cuts and moves are made, we will keep you updated the moment the word comes in. 
Comments on the cuts?  Send us an email at comments@fansfromthestands.com or fansfromthestands@yahoo.com
And…
As Always…
Let’s Go Bucs!
***Jennifer Langosch of MLB.com, and Pirates.com contributed to this article***