When the Pirates were ousted from the playoffs, Gaby Sanchez gave himself 10 days to kick back and enjoy the offseason. Before the World Series had run its course, Sanchez was back in the weight room.

“It was just me and one other guy working out for a good month before other guys started trickling in,” Sanchez said. “It was good. I wanted to get after it, get started.”

The results were noticeable Thursday, when the Pirates opened their spring training camp. Sanchez has packed on muscle, sweated off flab and is 20 pounds lighter than he was a year ago.

“Guys get to the point where they recognize there's a big opportunity for them,” general manager Neal Huntington said. “Gaby's got the opportunity to become a regular first baseman again.”

All winter, Huntington tried unsuccessfully to land a first baseman via free agency or a trade. He expects to keep searching during spring training and maybe get a bargain as players are forced off other teams' crowded rosters.