Finally, a columnist who isn’t buying into conspiracy theories.
Buster Olney details A-Rod’s struggles — his baseball struggles — notes the exceedingly poor matchups in play between the zombie A-Rod and the Tigers’ power righties, and puts lie to the notion that the reason Rodriguez is on the bench is because of silly tabloid nonsense:
Does anyone think that the Yankees decision-makers, from Girardi to general manager Brian Cashman, love every player they’ve inserted into their lineup through the years? No. Have they used productive players they couldn’t stand personally (like the way Joe Torre kept giving the David Wells the ball)? Absolutely.
Hell, if the Yankees thought the 86-year-old Fidel Castro could throw 120 mph and help the Yankees win the 2012 title, they’d pitch him.
Perhaps this can be explained by the fact that Olney is a national writer so he doesn’t spend all fall and winter filling column inches with “A-Rod is history’s greatest monster” stories. But the fact that it happens to be the most logical and straightforward explanation for all of this is an added benefit.
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.