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Pablo Sandoval to have Tommy John surgery

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The San Francisco Giants announced yesterday that  third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who has been out of action for the past two weeks with a barking elbow, will undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his season.

Tough break for Sandoval, who has enjoyed a nice, quiet comeback in San Francisco over the past couple of years. He absolutely cratered in Boston after signing a big free agent deal there following the 2014 season, but he returned to the Giants in 2017. Last year he hit .248/.310/.417 (101 OPS+) with nine homers in 92 games. This year he was hitting .269/.314/.509 (114 OPS+) with 14 homers.

Those are far from the kinds of numbers he put up back in his heyday, but (a) he’s basically been free to the Giants given that the Red Sox are the ones who have been on the hook for the final couple of years of that $95 million deal they gave him; and (b) he has been something of a utility guy/security blanket for manager Bruce Bochy, who has played him at first, third, DH and has even used him as a mop-up reliever on a few occasions.

Yesterday Bochy spoke of how important Sandoval was to have around simply because of who he is, saying, “He’s just so much fun. I’ve said this so many times, I just love his love for the game, his enthusiasm. Every day, he’s got a smile on his face.”

Sandoval will become a free agent after the 2019 season, but his timetable for recovery is unclear at the moment. And, as such, so is his future in the game.

No, the Astros aren’t being targeted for HBPs in spring training

Alex Bregman
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On Wednesday, Astros third baseman Alex Bregman was hit by Cardinals pitcher Ramon Santos. It marked the seventh time an Astros batter had been hit in spring training exhibition games thus far, the highest total among all teams. As expected, teams are exacting revenge for the Astros’ cheating ways!

Well, not quite. The pitch Santos hit Bregman with was a 3-2 breaking ball that got away. Usually, if a pitcher is going to hit a batter as an act of revenge, he’ll attempt to do it with a first-pitch fastball.

José Altuve was also hit by a pitch against the Tigers on Sunday. The pitch, which looks to be the off-speed variety, appeared to graze his uniform as opposed to hitting him flush, so it was likely unintentional on the part of pitcher Nick Ramirez.

Other Astros to have been hit in spring training thus far: Alex De Goti, Aledmys Díaz, Osvaldo Duarte, Dustin Garneau, and Jake Meyers. Not exactly a who’s-who list of Code Breaker operatives.

Will some pitchers intentionally throw at the Astros this year? Almost certainly, despite commissioner Rob Manfred’s warning. Have they been doing it from the moment exhibition games began earlier this month? Certainly not.