Boston Red Sox bench Pablo Sandoval for Instagram incident


Pablo Sandoval liked a few photos on Instagram, but he won’t like the repercussions of those actions. The Boston Red Sox have benched their third baseman for violating the league’s social media policy.

Sandoval admitted to making the mistake of using his phone to “like” photos of a female on the popular social media app during Wednesday night’s game. He was aware of the team’s policy, but says he wasn’t thinking when he retreated into the clubhouse to use the bathroom and stopped along the way to check his phone. His biggest mistake may have been failing to realize that his actions would be tracked with time stamps that could easily be used to confirm they were taken during the game.

"“I made a mistake,” explained a regretful Sandoval. “I let my teammates down. It ain’t going to happen again. I’ll take the punishment.”"

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The incident calls into question Sandoval’s focus, considering it happened in the middle of a game that the Red Sox would go on to lose 5-2 to the Atlanta Braves. The team is scuffling through a stretch in which they have lost 8 of their last 9 games, so the last thing they need now is to let the perception creep in that the players are no longer committed to winning. Even if that may not be true, paying more attention to your Instagram feed instead of watching your teammates fight for your season is a troubling sign.

The Red Sox have recalled infielder Travis Shaw from Triple-A Pawtucket and inserted him into the lineup at third base for Thursday night’s game in Atlanta in place of Sandoval. Without the benefit of a DH in an NL ballpark, David Ortiz will man first base, which has been Shaw’s primary position.

Shaw has previously made a couple of brief appearances with the big league club this season, appearing in two games. He is 0-for-3 with a walk in his four trips to the plate in those games.

Reliever Heath Hembree has been placed on the disabled list to make room on the roster for Shaw.

Credit Sandoval for owning up to his mistake and apologizing to his teammates. Hopefully he’s learned his lesson and has moved on. Perhaps it will even serve as motivation, as he works to prove to his teammates that his focus is in the right place.

Let’s just hope that this isn’t the first of many signs to come that this Red Sox team is merely going through the motions of a lost season. If players continue to get caught checking out their phones during games, it’s a sure sign that those players have checked out on the season.