Wladimir Balentien — recently arrested for domestic violence and false imprisonment — gave a press conference yesterday in which he apologized to the Yakult Swallows and their fans:
“I’m here in front of you guys today because, first of all, I just want to apologize to my fans, I want to apologize to the Yakult Swallows fans, I want to apologize to the organization, the Yakult Swallows, and I want to apologize to my teammates for all the stuff that’s going on. I’m glad I’m here today on time for starting spring training. I’m going to do my best this year—try to be [the best] player I can and help my team to win a lot of ballgames this year. Those are my goals”
Japan’s single-season home run champ reiterated that he was happy to have made camp on time and now is focused on getting ready for the season.
And thank goodness for that. How awful it would be if a guy accused of breaking into his estranged wife’s house through a window and locking her in a bedroom didn’t make camp on time.
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.