Redneck Thanksgiving

Giving Thanks: The National League West

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Our final installment. When this is done I’m gonna steal the pie that’s cooling in the kitchen, take it and my laptop to a locked room upstairs someplace and try to ride the rest of this holiday out with sloth and funny You Tube videos. It’s the only way to make it through, really.

What the NL West is thankful for:

San Francisco Giants: That bottles are not good conductors of electricity, thereby preventing them from being harmed by the lighting they managed to capture inside.

San Diego Padres: Low expectations. If it wasn’t for those in 2010, a lot more people would have been piling on them for that ten game losing streak that knocked them out of the playoffs. Instead, people ignored that and gave Bud Black a Manager of the Year Award. How awesome would it be if we were all graded on such a curve.

Colorado Rockies: Gonzalez, Tulowitzki and Jimenez, who showed that they can carry this team when healthy. And not tuckered out. And it should only be easier for them to do so without dead weight like Clint Barmes and Brad Hawpe hanging around.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Finding something to be thankful about here requires some long-range thinking, but really: look at what happened to a poorly-run, overly-indebted Texas Rangers team. It eventually got better. Maybe the same thing can happen here too. This McCourt drama could be like a purifying fire.  OK, that’s a bit much. How about Clayton Kershaw? He’s a nice young man.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Kevin Towers. His specialty is in fixing the kinds of problems the Diamondbacks have. Bad bullpens, poor fundamentals. It’s hard to imagine a better match between poor team and new executive than Towers and the Dbacks, and he could very well right this ship sooner rather than later.

That’s all I got, people. Maybe I won’t just steal the pie and hide upstairs. Maybe I’ll take some stuffing too.

Report: John Farrell won’t rule out a postseason return for Pablo Sandoval

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 11:  Pablo Sandoval #48 of the Boston Red Sox looks on from the dugout before the Red Sox home opener against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on April 11, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Orioles defeat the Red Sox 9-7.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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It’s been a strange season for Red Sox’ third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who lost his starting role in spring training, went 0-for-6 in three regular season appearances, and underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder in May. That was the last the Red Sox were supposed to hear about Sandoval until spring 2017, when he was expected to rejoin the team after a lengthy rehab stint in Florida.

On Saturday, manager John Farrell was telling a different story. Per MLB.com’s Sam Blum, Farrell hinted that Sandoval could return to the team as soon as October, albeit in a very limited capacity.

At the time of the surgery, it was all looking at the start of next Spring Training,” Farrell said. “We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves here, but at the same time, we compliment him for the work he’s put in, the way he’s responded to the rehab, the way he’s worked himself into better condition. We’re staying open-minded.

If the 30-year-old does return in 2016, don’t expect him to look like the three-home run hitter of the 2012 World Series. Should the Red Sox lose another player to injury, Sandoval might be called on as a backup option, but he’s unlikely to see substantial playing time under any other circumstances. Despite making two appearances at DH in the instructional league, Sandoval has not started at third base since undergoing surgery, though Farrell noted that a return to third base would be the next logical step in his recovery process.

Sandoval has yet to hit his stride within the Red Sox’ organization after hitting career-worst numbers in 2015. According to FanGraphs, his Offensive Runs Above Average (Off) plummeted to -20.2, contributing approximately two wins fewer than the average offensive player in 2015. (The Diamondbacks’ Chris Owings held the lowest Off mark in 2015, with -26.3 runs below average.) Sandoval has not appeared in a postseason race since the Giants’ championship run in 2014.

Heading into Saturday evening, the Red Sox could clinch their spot in the postseason with a win over the Rays and an Orioles’ loss.

Video: Adrian Beltre and Carlos Beltran give signs from the dugout

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 23:  Adrian Beltre #29 of the Texas Rangers stands in the dugout before their game against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 23, 2016 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The Rangers got a bit of a breather on Saturday after clinching the division lead during Friday night’s win. Naturally, it was also a prime opportunity for another of Adrian Beltre‘s well-documented antics, as he spent his off day directing the Rangers’ infield defense with a series of signs. Even with Carlos Beltran‘s help, no one, least of all those playing the infield, appeared to have any idea what Beltre’s gestures were intended to convey.

You can add this to the list of in-game oddities Beltre has become so well-known for over the years, running the gamut from the way he kicked a ball over the foul line to his histrionics every time someone comes close to touching his head. If nothing else, it’s a convincing audition reel for the third baseman’s future in major league coaching — a career path that, I’d imagine, would end up looking something like this: