Four years removed from throwing a no-hitter and three years removed from winning a World Series ring, Jonathan Sanchez will have to fight his way back to the major leagues.
The 30-year-old left-hander signed a minor league deal Wednesday with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who invited him to spring training.
The Pittsburgh rotation includes right-handers A.J. Burnett, James McDonald, Jeff Karstens and lefty Wandy Rodriguez. Sanchez could fight for the fifth spot with lefty Francisco Liriano, whose free agent contract has yet to be finalized, along with left-hander Jeff Locke or rookie right-hander Kyle McPherson.
Sanchez went 1-9 with an 8.07 ERA last season in a combined 15 starts for the Kansas City Royals and Colorado Rockies. He didn't make a start after August 3 because of left biceps tendinitis.
On July 10, 2009, Sanchez threw a no-hitter for the San Francisco Giants against the San Diego Padres. A year later, Sanchez helped the Giants capture the World Series, though he went 0-2 with a 4.05 ERA in four postseason starts.
He was traded to Kansas City in the November 2011 deal that brought outfielder Melky Cabrera to San Francisco. The Royals traded Sanchez to the Rockies last July for right-hander Jeremy Guthrie.