PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Miami-born and raised, Gaby Sanchez grew up a Marlins fan. He attended the University of Miami, and even during his Minor League career, he paid for a ticket to see his hometown team.
When Anibal Sanchez no-hit the D-backs in September 2006, Sanchez was at Sun Life Stadium as a fan.
Gaby Sanchez has come a long way since then.
On Monday, the Marlins announced that the 26-year-old will be their starting first baseman. The path was cleared for Sanchez when prospect Logan Morrison was reassigned to Minor League camp.
Shortly before the Marlins faced the Mets at Digital Domain Park on Monday, manager Fredi Gonzalez called Sanchez into his office to break the news.
“If we started the season tomorrow, Gaby is our first baseman,” Gonzalez said. “We hinted the other day that [with] his flexibility, he can be our emergency catcher.”
A fourth-round Draft pick in 2005, Sanchez did some catching in college, and he last played the position in a game as a Minor Leaguer in 2007.
Foremost, Sanchez will be looked upon to anchor first base. The plan also is to hit him eighth.
The Opening Day batting order on April 5 against the Mets projects to be: Chris Coghlan (LF), Cameron Maybin (CF), Hanley Ramirez (SS), Jorge Cantu (3B), Dan Uggla (2B), Ronny Paulino (C), Cody Ross (RF), Sanchez (1B) and Josh Johnson (P).