Pablo Sandoval has had elbow problems for the past two weeks and had a setback Friday while playing in a spring training game, but he’s in the Giants’ lineup for Opening Day against Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers.
Sandoval is starting at third base and batting third after manager Bruce Bochy said over the weekend that his availability would “go down to the wire.”
Sandoval missed five weeks with a broken hamate bone last season and struggled in the second half after returning, but then had a huge postseason and hit .400 this spring.
The Mets signed catcher Jose Lobaton to a minor league contract, the team announced Friday. The deal includes an invitation to spring training, where it’s assumed Lobaton will be in the mix for a backup role behind Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki.
Lobaton, 33, is coming off of a four-year stint with the Nationals. He put up his worst career numbers in 2017, producing -0.6 fWAR after slashing just .170/.248/.277 with four home runs in 158 plate appearances. While he’ll give the Mets little to work with at the plate, his near-decade of experience behind the dish should make him a decent emergency option, if nothing else.
In the meantime, the Mets are expected to roll with a d’Arnaud/Plawecki platoon to start the season. Both catchers saw slight upticks in value over the 2017 season: d’Arnaud turned in 0.8 fWAR after hitting a career-high 16 home runs, while Plawecki collected 0.6 fWAR and three homers after raising his batting line over the Mendoza Line for the first time since 2015.