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AFL Player Journal: Sanchez ready for opener10/10/2006 10:05 AM ET
By Gaby Sanchez / Special to MLB.com
Gaby Sanchez is an infielder in the Florida Marlins organization. Originally a catcher at the University of Miami, the 23-year-old was drafted in the fourth round of the 2005 draft by the Marlins. In his pro debut, Sanchez led the New-York Penn League with a .355 batting average and was named the MVP of the first-ever NY-Penn League All-Star Game. In 2006, Sanchez hit .317 in his full-season debut with an OPS of 1.050 over 55 games in Greensboro. Injuries cut short his season, but he finished the year with a combined .288 average, 15 homers and 50 RBIs in 74 games. Sanchez will be playing for the Peoria Javelinas this fall and he's agreed to chronicle his experiences for MiLB.com.
Hey baseball fans. My name is Gaby Sanchez and I am writing to you from Peoria, Ariz. where I will be playing for the Javelinas in the Arizona Fall League. I was born and raised in Miami, played college ball at the University of Miami and currently play in the Florida Marlins organization, so I really haven't had the chance to play out west.
I was drafted in 2005 and played for the Jamestown Jammers of the New York-Penn League in my first season. I had a decent year and was able to accomplish many of the first-year goals I set for myself. I hit .355, but only had five home runs -- something I vowed to work on in the offseason.
This past season started off well, but I was plagued with injuries in the second half. I began the year in Greensboro, a team that had four first-round pitching aces and was stacked with talent. I performed well and doubled my previous season's home run total in the first 10 games, which was pretty exciting. But halfway through the season I broke my hand sliding into first base.
I did my rehab in Jupiter, Fla. and played for a few weeks with the Hammerheads. But just a few weeks into rehab, I broke my foot rounding third base. It was hard to be back on the sidelines, but I know getting hurt is just a part of the game. Now I am back, 100 percent healthy and it feels great.
Arizona has been fun so far. I know a bunch of guys, so it makes it easy to be apart from my family and friends. It might sound cheesy, but it was hard for me to sleep the night before our first practice. I might have been more anxious to get out there because I was unable to participate in so many practices and games.
The first couple of days were rough because we had a lot of things to do as far as getting our living arrangements settled and finding our way around town. But we're set now. My roommate Brian Cleveland, a second baseman in the Marlins system, and I are staying in a nice place in town.
Our workouts have been pretty standard. We've been taking BP, fielding ground balls, going over game situations and taking infield and outfield. We have a coaching staff that is fun to be around and they seem to be "player-friendly" coaches.
Now, with the season about to begin, I'm definitely looking forward to spending the next few weeks playing against some of the best talent in Minor League Baseball. It's an honor to be a part of a league as prestigious as this. Hopefully I can improve my game and get a lot of good at-bats against some tough pitching.
We have our first game on Tuesday and I can't wait. Please feel free to drop me a line and ask any questions you might have. I look forward to hearing from all of you and I'll talk to you next week.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.