Joel Zumaya is scheduled to undergo Tommy John elbow surgery tomorrow, but he won’t do so as an official member of the Twins after Minnesota released the oft-injured right-hander this morning.
Minnesota could have simply transferred him to the 60-day disabled list and cleared the 40-man roster spot that way, which is generally more common than outright releasing an injured player.
Either way, as part of his partially guaranteed one-year deal Zumaya will get $400,000 and has said he plans to continue pitching. He looked healthy this spring before walking off the field with a torn elbow ligament following an early batting practice session, so the best-case scenario for Zumaya likely involves searching for minor-league deals next February or March.
UPDATE: Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN.com reports that, contrary to what was previously believed, the Twins are “on the hook” for Zumaya’s entire $850,000 salary because the injury occurred before the season, which would seem to go against the entire point of not guaranteeing his deal.
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.