BOSTON — John Farrell on Tuesday was asked if Pablo Sandoval is a burden. The Red Sox manager said that was not the case, on a day Josh Rutledge started at third base in place of Sandoval for a fourth straight game.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a burden for the manager,” Farrell said. “Our team is who we are, and we look to take advantage and make the most of who is here. So, that’s the approach taken.”
Realistically, Farrell couldn’t say otherwise, lest an angry Sandoval march into his office asking why he was just called out as a burden. The question needed to be asked. But really, the best person to answer it is Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski.
Dombrowski is the one who controls the roster. Farrell’s job is to play what he’s given. They work in tandem, but ultimate say for whether Sandoval stays or goes rests with Dombrowski.
Farrell shouldn't be expected to start a third baseman who looks so unsure defensively.
“John Farrell's in a position, it's always a tough situation for a manager in the sense that he has to play the club that he feels gives him the best opportunity to win that particular game and any other player coming back from an injury, no matter they're high paid or low paid,” Dombrowski said Tuesday on NESN, when Tom Caron asked about Sandoval. “But in this situation, we talked before the game like we always do, just about various things, and said this picture tonight, [Phillies righty Ben] Lively is a reverse split matchup type guy, right-handers hit him better than left-handed hitters, so he thought it was a situation where as well as [Josh] Rutledge has been playing, that he'd be the guy who'd be in the lineup today.
“I'm sure that Pablo will get plenty of opportunities. We go on the road, we face a lot of right-hand pitching and it's going to be up to Pablo to go out there and play well for us. We think he's capable of doing that, he has swung the bat well, he got a big base-hit for us yesterday. … He's in a spot to grab the position and really go out there do the job for us. And then it's up to John to make that decision on who gives us the best opportunity to win on a day in, day out basis.”
Farrell said he would not rule out Sandoval becoming a starter again. And he also indicated this gray area Sandoval’s playing time exists in doesn’t have some clear solution hanging around the corner.
“There’s no reason to believe it’s going to change,” Farrell said when asked about Sandoval's "deployment" and whether it can go on indefinitely.