Joe Torre has served as MLB’s executive vice president for baseball operations since retiring as Dodgers manager in late 2010–with a brief break while he pursued ownership of the team–but the 71-year-old future Hall of Famer has decided to take on another managing gig.
Torre has been chosen as Team USA’s manager for the World Baseball Classic in March of 2013. Four years ago Davey Johnson managed the WBC team along with a star-studded coaching staff that included Mike Schmidt, Barry Larkin, Mel Stottlemyre, Billy Ripken, Reggie Smith, and Marcel Lachemann.
No word yet on who will be on Torre’s staff and presumably the WBC job won’t lead to Torre following in Johnson’s footsteps by eventually becoming an MLB manage again, but if anyone is well-equipped to manager a team full of All-Stars it’s certainly Torre. He managed 29 seasons for the Mets, Cardinals, Braves, Yankees and Dodgers, winning four World Series titles and two manager of the year awards.
Team USA finished in fourth place under Johnson in 2009 and tied for sixth place under manager Buck Martinez in 2006, with Team Japan winning both tournaments.
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.