The Pirates have signed left-hander Jonathan Sanchez, who threw a no-hitter for the Giants in 2009 and was a part of their World Series-winning rotation in '10, to a Minor League contract that includes an invitation to Major League Spring Training.
Sanchez, 30, is a low-risk signing with a potentially high reward if he recaptures the form that made him successful with San Francisco from 2009-10. The lefty was traded to the Royals for Melky Cabrera last year after an injury-riddled campaign in '11, and he struggled in Kansas City and Colorado in '12, putting up a combined 1-9 record, 8.07 ERA and more walks (53) than strikeouts (45) in just 64 2/3 innings.
The Royals designated Sanchez for assignment after 12 starts and swapped him for the Rockies' Jeremy Guthrie, but he made only three starts in Colorado.
While Sanchez's greatest strength has been his ability to miss bats -- he has averaged more than a strikeout per inning over his seven-year career -- his greatest weakness has been finding the strike zone with consistency. The lefty has averaged five walks per nine innings in his career, including 7.4 last year and 5.9 in '11.
Sanchez threw an 11-strikeout no-hitter against the Padres on July 10, 2009, but his best season came in '10, when he went 13-9 with a 3.07 ERA, 205 strikeouts, 96 walks and only 142 hits allowed in 193 1/3 innings.
The Pirates now have 19 non-roster players coming to Major League camp, including nine pitchers, three catchers, four infielders and three outfielders.