Sanchez working hard at Indianapolis

As one of the youngsters on the Indianapolis Indians' roster, catcher Tony Sanchez has fit in quite well with the rest of the team. According to him, his relationship with the rest of the guys has developed into meaningful friendships.

"They have a bunch of nicknames for me, which means I'm on the right page. I mean, if guys aren't messing with you that means they haven't really taken a liking towards you," Sanchez said. "I'd like to think that I have some thick skin and everyone plays jokes on everyone. So if you're not a part of the circle, then you have a problem. But since I am getting made fun of, and I am the young guy and the rookie, and they're treating me like that, it's a good sign."

Since the beginning of July, Sanchez is batting .291 with a .618 slugging percentage. According to him, his work ethic is not something that can be described easily.

"It's baseball, you have to put work into it to be good, and right now, I'm just reaping the rewards of hard work," Sanchez said. "[Batting Coach] Jeff Branson and I put in a lot work, a lot of hours in the cages. It's getting here early and getting our work done. It's easy to put work in, but it's hard to translate from in the cage to the game because the game is so much different, but I've been able to bring what we're doing in the cage into the game and it's really helped me get to this point.

According to Sanchez, he and Branson have not changed much of his batting stance since he came to Indianapolis in early June. Sanchez said that they have worked on a lot his trigger mechanisms and the positioning of his hands. Using his body less and his hands more has been something the two have really focused on in the batting cage.

"Anytime you start using more of your body than your hands, you're going to get yourself into trouble," Sanchez said. "When I first got here, I but a lot of pressure on myself to be the main guy in the lineup right from the get-go, and I was using a lot of my body and trying to drive the ball with my lower abs. As much as that does help you, you have to be able to use your hands before your body. We've been able to clear some of those issues with my body and put a little more emphasis on my hands and it's really allowed me to drive the ball."

According to Sanchez, his batting is not the only thing that has transformed since the beginning of the season. Sanchez said that he has changed as a person on the field because of the level at which he now plays and the lessons he's learned from the older guys on the team.

"On the field, I've had to mature a lot with having those pitchers put a lot of confidence and trust in me. In Double-A, they put everything they had in me. With me going back there for a second year, and knowing the hitters that we were going to be facing, those pitchers put everything they had in me and let me take over," he said. "Coming here, it's kind of the opposite where I don't know anybody and I haven't caught any of these pitchers since 2009, and I don't know any of these hitters. So it's me putting a lot of my confidence in these guys to throw the pitches that they know are going to get outs. There have been some struggles here and there, but I've made some strides as far as where I want to be when the season ends, and we're still working. It's always going to be a work in progress."

As the end of the season approaches quickly, Sanchez said that the team hopes to be in the playoffs come September, but understands that anything is possible in the name of baseball.

"Come September, God bless, I hope this team is still in first place in the playoff race. I mean, we're [12] games up right now and if we don't get the job done that would be pretty poor on our part," he said. "But we have the team that has the talent to do it. We have a great squad and a lot of depth. Understandably, some of these guys aren't going to be here in September, but that's where the depth comes in and that's where this team's talent is really going to grow."

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