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Pablo Sandoval placed on the disabled list with an inner ear infection

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I don’t know if the Pablo Sandoval era is ending in Boston, but if it is, it’s ending with a whimper. The whimper: the Sox just placed him on the disabled list . . . with an inner ear infection.

Look, an inner ear infection is no joke. My son actually has one right now! I had to go put ciprofloxacin drops in his ear just before stating this post. I tend to think, however, that this is not the sort of thing for which a useful ballplayer in his team’s good graces would be put on the DL. It’s further underscored by the surprised and somewhat mocking tone with which the news was broken on Twitter by the Sox beat writers. It just smells kinda funny.

What also smells is Sandoval’s performance. He’s batting just .212/.269/.354 this season. Over three seasons he’s played only 161 games and is hitting a paltry .237/.286/.360. He’s currently in the third year of a five-year, $95 million deal. The odds that he’s still in a Sox uniform when it ends have been taken off the board in Vegas, replaced by a hand-written sign that says “you kiddin’ me?”

Anyway, that’s the latest from Pablo Sandoval. The man who, when he signed with Boston, inspired people to write columns saying how unfair the system was and how baseball needed a salary cap.

Three A’s rookies hit their first big league home runs on Saturday

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The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.

Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:

Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:

In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.

The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.

Athletics call up top prospect Franklin Barreto

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The Athletics called up their top prospect on Saturday, inserting shortstop Franklin Barreto into the lineup for their second game against the White Sox. Barreto was originally scheduled to make his major league debut on Sunday, but got a head start after Jed Lowrie sustained a minor knee sprain in Friday’s 3-0 win and was scratched from Saturday’s lineup.

Barreto, 21, has been rapidly climbing the rungs of the A’s minor league system after getting dealt by the Blue Jays in 2014. He got his first taste of Triple-A action late last year, going 6-for-17 with three RBI and getting caught stealing in two attempts. He fared little better this spring, slashing .281/.326/.428 with eight home runs and a .754 OPS through his first 309 PA in Nashville.

While his minor league production has been solid, if underwhelming for a prospect of his caliber, the A’s are expected to give the rookie infielder a long leash with both Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder sitting on the disabled list. Pinder landed on the 10-day DL after suffering a left hamstring strain on Friday. Semien, meanwhile, is still working his way back from the 60-day DL with a right wrist fracture and likely won’t rejoin the team until he completes a rehab assignment with High-A Stockton.