Tony Sanchez swings open the door to the Pirates' McKechnie Field clubhouse early Friday morning, paces to the bulletin board, noting camp activities for the next few days, and sees his name in Saturday's lineup against the Twins.
So far, routine. The catching prospect has been getting a lot of action, Russell Martin's sore shoulder opening wider his window of opportunity.
Then Sanchez lowers his eyes to see that day's starting pitcher, and he gulps -- A.J. Burnett, veteran ace.
"I better get a good night's sleep, and have my 'A' game tomorrow," Sanchez tells himself. "Because first impressions are everything. It's just another ballgame, he needs a catcher and I've done this my whole life. But that's a guy you want to impress."
On Saturday morning, Burnett goes out of his way to sidle up to Sanchez in the locker room.
"Hey, call your game," Burnett tells the 24-year-old catcher. "I'm following you. You lead me through this. I'm really intense on the mound. That's just my shtick, so don't worry about it, it's nothing against you, just what I do. I want you to have fun, be relaxed."