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Sanchez OK after ball strikes jaw in blocking drills

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Tony Sanchez was happy to find out -- the hard way -- he no longer has a glass jaw.

During pitch-blocking drills, in which catchers are peppered with balls fired into the dirt, Sanchez had one carom up into his jaw. Not exactly a preferred experience for a Pirates prospect whose development has been stalled by two incidents of having his jaw fractured --- once on the field in the middle of the 2010 season, then in a bar altercation following the '11 season.

"It bounced off my arm into the left side of my jaw," Sanchez said. "Right away, I'm like, 'Oh, wow, not that.' But I felt the area and everything was OK, so I'm thinking, 'All right!"

And the young catcher, who will start for the Gold Team in Friday's intrasquad game, did block the pitch.

"Yeah," he grinned, "with my face."