Red Sox manager John Farrell says third baseman Pablo Sandoval is “well ahead of schedule” in his rehab and could potentially be an option for the Red Sox next month, as Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal reports (Twitter links). Farrell seems to be suggesting that the Sox would likely treat Sandoval as an option only in the case of an injury to another player, such as current third baseman Travis Shaw.
In May, Sandoval had shoulder surgery and appeared likely to be out for the season. Since then, though, he’s reportedly lost 22 pounds, as WEEI’s Rob Bradford tweeted last month. Sandoval is currently playing DH in Red Sox instructs.
Sandoval, of course, had a miserable first season in Boston in 2015, batting just .245/.292/.366 while also struggling defensively. This year, he’s collected just seven plate appearances and doesn’t have a hit. Given his previous struggles, the length of time he’s been away and the approaching end of the regular season, it would be quite a story if Sandoval were to contribute this season, even in the playoffs. That possibility seems unlikely, to say the least.
Still, it bodes well for Sandoval that he’s progressed quickly enough that the Red Sox are open to the possibility of an early return. He still has three years and $58MM remaining on his contract, so there’s still time for the team to recoup a bit of value from the $95MM investment in Sandoval they made in the 2014-15 offseason.