Dusty Baker is still trying to decide who will be asked to replace Ryan Madson as closer, but in the meantime free agent reliever Mike Gonzalez worked out for the Reds yesterday.
Mark Sheldon of MLB.com described it as an “audition” and says Gonzalez “was spotted throwing in a bullpen session at the Reds’ complex.”
Sean Marshall, Bill Bray, and Aroldis Chapman (if he doesn’t win a rotation spot) mean the Reds have no shortage of left-handed relievers, but Gonzalez is certainly one of the few remaining free agents with decent upside and threw 53 innings with a 4.39 ERA and 51/21 K/BB ratio last year.
Pablo Sandoval could be tabbed to play second base in the near future, per a report from John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. According to Shea, Sandoval has been spotted taking grounders at second during pre-game warm-ups and may be considering switching to the keystone on a part-time basis.
It wouldn’t be the weirdest thing the 31-year-old corner infielder has done this year — that distinction goes to the flawless inning of relief he pitched in a blowout loss against the Dodgers last month. But it would represent a pretty notable departure from his comfort zone even so; Sandoval has primarily manned first and third base throughout his 11-year career in the majors and has also taken a few reps at DH during his resurgence with the Giants in 2018.
Of course, this wouldn’t necessarily be a permanent switch for Sandoval. As Shea points out, the Giants are thin on middle infielders after losing Joe Panik to a torn UCL in his left thumb and backup Alen Hanson to a left hamstring strain. Provided he can get up to speed quickly (no easy feat, according to infield coach Ron Wotus), he’d give the club some added depth behind Kelby Tomlinson and Miguel Gomez until Panik is ready to take the field again. Sandoval has impressed at the plate this spring, batting a healthy .270/.329/.429 with six extra-base hits and a .757 through 70 plate appearances.