Yesterday I made a joke that the name “Odrisamer Despaigne” sounded more like an obscure Belgian ale. Well, it does. But it seems that the name attaches to a pretty good pitcher too. Last night Despaigne tossed seven shutout innings and allowed four hits in beating the Giants. And he wasn’t even supposed to be there yesterday. He got the start because Andrew Cashner went on the DL.
Not that we should necessarily expect that. The Cuban defector wasn’t exactly sought after like Yoenis Cespedes or Arolids Chapman. The Padres got him on a minor league deal back in early May and spent six weeks in the minors, going 1-3 with a 6.03 ERA between Double- and Triple-A. He’s not overpowering — he works in the low 90s — but he flashed some pretty impressive speed-changes and arm slots last night, throwing four pitches, some in the 60s.
Junk ballers may not be as impressive as fireballers, and Despaigne may have a lot of bumps ahead of him based on his minor league track record, but it was fun to see the highlights of this one this morning.
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.