Yasiel Puig defected from Cuba last year. Earlier, however, he had made a failed attempt. Jeff Passan spoke with the Coast Guard crew which intercepted the boat in which he tried to reach the United States in April 2012 and it’s a great story.
While the Coast Guard declined to release specific information about the interdiction of Puig’s boat, conversations with six men aboard the Vigilant at the time gave Yahoo! Sports an in-depth look into a nearly two-week sliver of Puig’s life. Though this was not his final voyage, it offers the greatest insight yet of his tortuous journey to Dodger Stadium.
“He stood out from the group,” Hoschak said. “The conditions he was in on that boat were terrible. He’s got his stuff in a garbage bag. Not really enough food. You can tell.”
From that to Puig Mania in just over a 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.