Brendan Ryan was slated to be the Yankees’ utility infielder and Derek Jeter insurance, but instead he’s likely to begin the season on the disabled list with a back injury.
Ryan hasn’t played in a game since March 4 and tweaked his back warming up yesterday, canceling plans to rejoin the Yankees’ lineup. Ryan and manager Joe Girardi both indicated to Jorge Castillo of the Newark Star Ledger that he’s running out of time to get ready for Opening Day, as he’s totaled just nine plate appearances all spring.
New York acquired Ryan from Seattle in September and then re-signed him to a two-year, $5 million deal, deciding the slick-fielding, poor-hitting veteran was good to have around in case Jeter once again can’t stay healthy.
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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.