BOSTON — Pablo Sandoval’s Instagram workout videos have generated quite the buzz this offseason. Even among his Red Sox teammates.
“I’ve seen the videos that everyone’s been seeing,” Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts said Thursday ahead of a writers’ dinner at which he’ll be honored. “He definitely looks in great shape. … He’s definitely someone I’m excited to see, the way he’s transformed.”
Sandoval indeed has looked noticeably slimmer in his video posts. That’s given the Red Sox and their fans hope he’ll bounce back after a disappointing 2016 season in which he played just three games before being shut down for the year with a shoulder injury.
Red Sox manager John Farrell expressed similar optimism in his veteran third baseman Thursday.
“Compliments to Pablo,” Farrell told reporters. “He’s done a great job with the work that he’s put in, the commitment that he’s made. He’s reshaped himself. That’s apparent.”
But those platitudes don’t guarantee Sandoval the starting third base job. Travis Shaw, last year’s Opening Day starter, is gone, but Farrell said Brock Holt and Josh Rutledge both will compete with Sandoval at the hot corner in spring training. There’s also prospect Rafael Devers, who is rising through Boston’s farm system and will be with the team in Fort Myers this spring.
“He knows that there’s work to be done to regain an everyday job at third base, so we’ll see how that unfolds,” Farrell said of Sandoval. “… We’ve got a versatile team here, too, so in the event that we’ve got to find what the best matchup is for us, whether it’s Brock Holt, Josh Rutledge — the beauty of last spring is that there’s a note of competition here in camp, and that was borne out at third base last year. That won’t change.”
As for Farrell’s 2017 expectations for Sandoval, the Red Sox manager echoed his boss, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, who hopes the 30-year-old can put up the same numbers he did with the San Francisco Giants.
“We’re not looking for him to be someone he’s not been in the past,” Farrell said. “Returning to that level of performance is the reason he was signed here.”
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images