According to Scott Miller of MLB.com, left-hander Hyun-jin Ryu has been cleared to start the Dodgers’ U.S. opener on Sunday night against the Padres. Defending NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw was originally expected to make the start, but he was scratched from the assignment due to a sore upper back.
Ryu has had some issues of his own in recent days, as he suffered a cracked nail on his big right toe while running the bases last weekend during the Australia series against the Diamondbacks. However, he made it through a bullpen session with no issues yesterday and even took batting practice.
Ryu tossed five scoreless innings in his season debut last weekend and is looking to build off an impressive rookie season in which he posted a 3.00 ERA in 30 starts.
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.