Alex Rodriguez just concluded his first minor league rehab game with the Low-A Charleston RiverDogs. And while he didn’t contribute much in the way of offense, the night was far from a failure.
The veteran third baseman grounded into a double play in his first at-bat and struck out looking in his second at-bat, but he played three innings at third base and most importantly had no issues with his surgically-repaired hip. There was an over-capacity crowd at Charleston’s Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park — a big boost for that affiliate — and A-Rod thanked them for coming by signing autographs down the right-field line for a while after being removed from the lineup in the bottom of the third.
Rodriguez will slowly wind his way through the Yankees’ minor league system, working his way up to full nine-inning games. He is expected to return from his January hip surgery right around the All-Star break.
Yankees third baseman have hit .227/.288/.310 in 2013 and Kevin Youkilis is done for the year.
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.