BOSTON — The Red Sox hope some time out of the lineup will help Pablo Sandoval find his groove.
The third baseman was held out of Friday night’s matchup with the Oakland A’s. Manager John Farrell said his decision to sit Sandoval partially was based on the A’s starting left-hander Scott Kazmir, but that it was not purely dependent on splits.
“That’s part of it,” Farrell said before the game. “And also to give Pablo a day or two to catch his breath a little bit. I talked to him (Thursday) night after the game, so he’s well aware that (Friday) for sure he was going to be down.”
Sandoval has gone 4-for-37 (.108) with zero extra-base hits and zero RBIs over his last 10 games, and his batting average has dropped from .312 on May 5 to .239 on June 5. His play at third also has taken a hit, with four of his seven errors on the season coming in his last four games.
Farrell hopes some time off will have a similar effect for Sandoval as it did for David Ortiz, who went 6-for-16 in the four games following his two-game layoff last week. Ortiz — who, like Sandoval, has struggled against southpaws this season — also was not in the lineup for Friday’s series opener at Fenway Park.
“Every guy is individual,” Farrell said. “I think David, when came back after the couple of days, there was some initial positive positive production. He used the whole field. I think he detected things just from video review and some still photographs and comparison that he was working through. That proved to be beneficial, and certainly we need it to be beneficial for Pablo, as well.”
Sandoval has yet to live up to the five-year, $100 million contract he signed this past offseason, but Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said Friday in a pregame meeting with reporters (the theme of which was, basically, “let’s not panic just yet”) he’s confident the two-time All-Star will return to form before long.
“He’s in a little bit of a rut,” Cherington said. “This is a guy who’s played third base well and been a good performer offensively for a long time. And he’s right in the middle of his career. I fully expect him to get out of it. Obviously he’s not happy himself.
“It’s just one of those — players go through stretches like this. But he’s just too proven of a performer to stay in it. He’ll figure it out. He’ll get out of it.”
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images