SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- When he checked into camp last spring, Pablo Sandoval took out a catcher's glove to show reporters he was ready for any role. He ended up catching a few bullpen sessions in camp and spent the year serving as Bruce Bochy’s emergency catcher.
Sandoval also brought an outfield glove to camp last spring, but Bochy laughed last year when asked about that possibility, cracking, “he doesn’t need to show me that glove.”
A year later, the Giants are no longer joking about that possibility. Sandoval has been taking fly balls on back fields this spring and Bochy hopes to get him into left field in at least one Cactus League game.
For the Giants, this is not meant as a solution to their outfield woes. But they have three backup infield options -- Sandoval, Yangervis Solarte and Alen Hanson -- who are somewhat similar in terms of roster fit, so they’re looking for as much versatility as they can get.
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Solarte has gotten a look in left this spring and Hanson played there at times last year, so Sandoval is also getting a crash course. You never know what will happen during a long season -- Sandoval ended up starting two games at second base last season.
Sandoval never did end up catching last year, and this experiment is just as unlikely. But at some point, we may see Sandoval in the outfield regardless of need. Bochy has said he wants to let Sandoval play all nine positions in one game, and this is the manager’s last season and the final year of Sandoval’s contract.