Pablo Sandoval being out 4-6 weeks with a fractured hamate bone has the Giants thinking about creative ways to replace him, which is why second baseman Freddy Sanchez played third base yesterday on his minor-league rehab assignment.
Sanchez has suffered numerous setbacks trying to recover from shoulder problems, so counting on him returning as a productive player is iffy enough without a position switch, but Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com reports that the 34-year-old “went to manager Bruce Bochy last week and volunteered to try playing third base.”
Post-surgery arm strength was already going to be an issue for Sanchez at second base and last time he played third base was 2006, but he’s logged more than 1,300 career innings as the position and claims the longer throws are somehow easier on his shoulder.
Of course, it’s also worth noting that Ryan Theriot and Emmanuel Burriss aren’t exactly putting up huge numbers splitting time at second base, so Sanchez returning as a third baseman might solve one problem while leaving another.
The Braves and Marlins have some bad blood, especially concerning Ronald Acuña Jr. Around this time last year, José Ureña intentionally threw at Acuña in the first at-bat of a game, leading to a benches-clearing incident. Acuña was hit on the elbow and exited the game but was ultimately fine. Acuña’s crime? Just being good at baseball. At the time, he had homered in five consecutive games, including three games against the Marlins.
In 2019, the first-place Braves and last-place Marlins have mostly minded their own business. The Marlins, however, can certainly keep a grudge it appears. With his first pitch in the bottom of the first inning Tuesday night in Atlanta, Marlins starter Elieser Hernández hit Acuña in the hip.
Home plate umpire Alan Porter issued warnings to both dugouts. Braves manager Brian Snitker wasn’t happy about his side having received a warning for no reason, and was ejected by first base umpire Mark Wegner. Hernández would hit Adeiny Hechavarría with a pitch in the fourth inning — seemingly unintentionally — and was not ejected. Other than that, there were no more incidents and cooler heads prevailed.
Acuña finished 1-for-4 in the Braves’ 5-1 win. Freddie Freeman hit two home runs and knocked in four runs.