Sanchez, Qualls get settled in with Pirates
New acquisitions arrive for the series finale at Wrigley Field
CHICAGO -- The head of Gaby Sanchez, possibly the first Major League player ever traded while on paternity leave, finally stopped spinning when he arrived in the Pirates' clubhouse Wednesday morning.
"It's been a crazy couple of days. But one of those good things -- becoming a father and at the same time getting traded to a team playing really well in the hunt," said Sanchez, whose first child, Sky, was born on Friday. "I was in the hospital with the baby when everything was going on with the phone calls and all the other crazy stuff."
Meanwhile, Chad Qualls, the Pirates' other Trade Deadline addition, just had a tough time talking himself into Wrigley Field. Arriving at the park from O'Hare Airport at about 11:15 a.m. CT, Qualls was lugging a New York Yankees equipment bag and flashed a Philadelphia Phillies ID.
Once the sentry was filled in -- Qualls had been dealt a month ago by the Phillies to the Yankees and had just been acquired by the Pirates -- he was waved through.
"This should be a really good fit," said the veteran right-handed reliever. "I've been in the National League most of my career (545 of 580 games with the Astros, D-Backs, Padres and Phillies), and I know they use the bullpen a lot around here. They need some outs to get the ball to (closer Joel) Hanrahan. I'm glad to be in this situation, and look forward to these next two months."
Qualls' chances of a quick debut with the Bucs depended on Jeff Karstens, their starter in Wednesday afternoon's series finale against the Cubs. Sanchez, however, was diving right in, playing first base and batting cleanup against Chicago lefty Travis Wood.
Sanchez served as Miami manager Ozzie Guillen's cleanup batter only twice this season, but had primarily swung in the four-hole during his 4 1/2 seasons with the Marlins.
"This team's been playing really well," Sanchez said. "Its great to be a part of it now."
As expected, with Qualls reporting, Daniel McCutchen was optioned back to Triple-A Indianapolis. It was another bitter departure for McCutchen, after his second brief stint with the club ended without ever getting into a game. Rod Barajas has caught 1,080 games, and some pretty decent pitching staffs, during his 14-year career. But he has never caught a no-hitter. Which is why he tends to get very caught up in bids like the one by A.J. Burnett on Tuesday night. "I'm due -- and he's due," Barajas said. Winning consecutive player of the month awards is rare, but one has to like the chances of Andrew McCutchen repeating his June plaque. In July, he batted 76 points higher (.446) -- the highest July average in Pirates history (with a minimum of 50 at-bats). McCutchen's 41 hits were the most in a month by a Pirates player since Freddy Sanchez posted 46 in August 2007.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.