Tim McClelland, who has been a major league umpire for 31 years, will miss the entire 2014 season due to a back injury. And he sounds less than optimistic that he’ll be back for 2015 or ever again:
“I’m not working this year,” said McClelland, of West Des Moines. “I’m not retiring, I’m just on the disabled list. I’m going to rest, and we have to re-evaluate at the end of the year.”
When asked if sitting out a season had the potential to provide enough relief for a return to baseball, McClelland said he was unsure.
“Possibly. Possibly,” he said. “We don’t know.”
McClelland, whose most famous moment was almost certainly calling George Brett out in the Pine Tar Game, was the second most senior umpire in the majors after Joe West.
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.