Miguel Olivo had to be helped off the field last night after suffering a groin injury, saying afterward that it was worse than the groin injury that caused him to miss three weeks last spring.
Olivo told Greg Johns of MLB.com that he “felt a pop” while trying to make a play at first base on a ball hit in front of the plate and “I know it’s not going to be easy.”
Fortunately for the Mariners they have excellent catching depth, with rookie Jesus Montero and former Rays starter John Jaso ready to split time behind the plate. In fact, prior to Olivo’s injury they had used Jaso exclusively as a designated hitter.
Montero began last night’s game at DH, with Jaso on the bench, but then shifted behind the plate following Olivo’s injury and later homered. Olivo has hit just .210 with a .575 OPS and his usual league-leading passed ball count, so it’s not exactly a huge downgrade for Seattle.
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.