Boston Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval will be out for a few days due to back tightness, opening the door wider for Travis Shaw.
Locked in a tight battle for the starting third base job as the season quickly approaches, the last thing that Pablo Sandoval needed was for an injury to take him off the field. Yet, here we are.
WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford reports that Sandoval will be sidelined for the next few days due to lower back tightness, the result of making a diving stop in a game against the Miami Marlins on Tuesday.
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We harp on Sandoval for his defensive deficiencies, then he goes out and makes a great play only to injure himself in doing so. He put in the effort to show there is still a surprising amount of agility left in his thick frame, but the attempt backfired. The guy just can’t win, but his efforts to prove himself may result in him losing his starting spot.
Travis Shaw has already outplayed him by a significant margin this spring and could run away with this competition if Sandoval doesn’t return in time to allow himself the opportunity to close the gap.
"“He’s going to be down for a couple days, just trying to get back,” said manager John Farrell. “He’s going to be unavailable on a day to day status right now.”"
While the injury doesn’t appear to be serious enough to land Sandoval on the disabled list to start the season, the uncertainty of a day-to-day time frame is concerning. After all, there aren’t that many days left before Opening Day.
Shaw will get the start at third base in Thursday’s game against the New York Mets, batting in the same sixth spot in the lineup where we would expect to find Sandoval. The way things are going, Shaw may end up in that spot on a regular basis this season.
It’s not too late for Sandoval to step up and reclaim his position, but he can’t do that while his ailing back has him relegated to the bench. This battle may not be over yet, but time is running out.