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Pirates eye catching depth behind young Sanchez

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle is confident in what 25-year-old Tony Sanchez can do behind the plate and with the bat, but that doesn't mean the club won't search for some insurance.

Catcher Michael McKenry will miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on his torn lateral meniscus Tuesday, and Sanchez, the club's first-round pick in 2009, will likely back up starter Russell Martin for the rest of '13.

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General manager Neal Huntington said Wednesday he's searching for Minor League catchers with some big league experience as potential insurance, but is comfortable with Sanchez. He and Hurdle will deliberate more, and the manager will give Huntington some names moving forward.

Martin is under contract through the end of 2014, so Sanchez likely won't have the chance to be an everyday catcher until '15 at the earliest. Hurdle said it's not out of the question that he'll try Sanchez at different positions in the coming months and next season, but wants him to first refine his catching skills.

"Right now, it could be a conversation that could be visited, but we want him to hone his first craft and take care of that," Hurdle said.

Sanchez started twice behind the plate against the Cardinals this week and is 3-for-14 in four games this season.

Steven Petrella is an associate reporter for

Pittsburgh Pirates, Russell Martin, Tony Sanchez