Oct 13, 2014

2006 NL Eastern Champion Mets Relief Pitcher: Duaner Sanchez (2006-2009)

Duaner Sanchez was born on October 14, 1979 in the Dominican Republic. The six foot right hander was drafted out of high school in 1996 by the Arizona Diamondbacks. He began his career there as a starting pitcher, eventually getting moved to the bullpen and saving 20 games in 2000 at the AA & AAA ball level.

In 2002 he he made his MLB debut getting a Juine call up to pitch during inter league play. He was sent to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Mike Fetters, pitching three games at the big league level for Pittsburgh. He then got placed on waivers where the Los Angeles Dodgers picked him up in 2003.

By 2004 he became the Dodgers set up man, making the way for closer Eric Gagne & his big 45 saves season. Sanchez was 3-1 with a 3.38 ERA, getting credit with four holds, while striking out 44 batters in 80 innings. The next season he saw action in 79 games and improved his strikeouts to 71 in 82 innings pitched. He posted a 3.73 ERA & when Gagne was sidelined with injury in August, Sanchez took over the close role. He was spectacular saving five games in the final two weeks of the month, not allowing any runs & just three hits over seven innings of work in eight games. Overall he saved eight games for L.A going 4-7 with a 3.73 ERA in 82 appearances overall.

In January 2006 he was traded by the Dodgers along with Steve Schmoll to the New York Mets for Jae Seo & Tim Hamulack. Sanchez proved to be one of the best traded acquisitions the Mets had made at that point in the mid 2000's. In his first month with the Mets he got credit for seven holds, also earning a win at San Diego on April 20th. During the week of June 29th to May 3rd he got credit for three wins, pitching five scoreless innings lowering his ERA to 2.04.

In June he would blow his only save of the season but get credit for four more holds. Overall in 49 appearances he went 5-1 with a fantastic 2.60 ERA as the set up man for Billy Wagner. He struck out 44 batters in 55 innings in Rick Peterson & Willie Randolph’s strong 2006 bull pen. Drama: Then it all came crashing down.

On July 30, 2006, in Miami, Florida, Sanchez was injured in a taxicab accident on I- 95. The accident was caused by a drunk driver. Sanchez separated his shoulder, and was flown to New York City to undergo season-ending surgery. The Mets front office learned the full extent of the injury on the morning of the trade deadline, but didn’t tell the media until a trade had been made. The Mets acquired for relief pitcher Roberto Hernandez, and starter Óliver Pérez from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for Xavier Hernandez. It was heart breaking & hurt the Mets in the post season as they also lost pitchers Pedro Martinez & Orlando Hernandez.

The Mets signed Sanchez to a one year deal in 2007, but towards the end of Spring Training he suffered a hairline fracture to a small bone in the front of his shoulder. The car accident had weakened his shoulder & once he began to throw again, the bone cracked. Sanchez missed the entire 2007 season as a result of the fracture.

He did come back in 2008, but was never the same pitcher again. By the end of May although his ERA was over four, he had six holds to his credit & closed out the month with two credited victories. In mid July he earned two more victories in the same week & had 15 holds to his credit. Overall when the Mets lost their chance at the playoffs on the last day of the season at the final game played in Shea Stadium, Sanchez wasn't around.

He went down again in late September making his final Mets appearance on the 24th in a game against the Chicago Cubs. He went 5-1 with a 4.32 ERA & was released in the Spring of 2009. He signed with the Padres but was released in May.

In a seven season career he pitched in 288 games going 19-11 with 8 saves, 214 strike outs 126 walks & a 4.14 ERA in 298 innings pitched.

In 2010 he pitched in the Mexican League & in 2011 was signed by the Long Island Ducks in the Independent League.

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