Pablo Sandoval caught with hand in the cookie jar

Eric D. Schabell
Contributing Writer

Yesterday in the third inning Pablo Sandoval was on first base with no outs when a ball was hit to the wall in the right field gap.

Based on his position between second and third when the ball was picked up by the right fielder, third base coach Brian Butterfield waved him home.

Sandoval was thrown out a good relay on what should have been the Red Sox first run of the game, one sorely needed as they were already down 6-0. Within two innings Sandoval was taken out of the game with what the team called dehydration symptoms.

At 225-pounds, Sandoval has been the center of weight and conditioning issues his entire career. As manager John Farrell stated in his post game interview where he came as close as he ever has to calling him out on his weight.

"[The dehydration occurred] during the game. Whether or not going first to home was a contributing factor to that, he was past the 45-foot mark when the ball was picked up in right-center field and you think you're in pretty good shape to score there. The weather, possibly the first to home, I first became aware of it when he came out."

Well it looks like a first-to-home sprint is going to be another issue to add to a disappointing 2015 season for Sandoval. It begs the question as to which of the conditioning coaches should be fired for this?

Infielder Josh Rutledge, playing in his first game since being acquired from the Angels on Monday, replaced Sandoval at third base to begin the sixth and stated, “I kind of knew. Pablo was kind of feeling a little dizzy the inning before, so I started getting ready.”

With baseball being a summer sport, kind of hard to blame the 91F degree evening as the reason only Sandoval could not make it past the 5th inning without dehydrating. This excuse sounds like the one used to send Justin Masterson down to Triple-A with shoulder issues.

That's seems to be the main management technique that Farrell is leaning on of late, fabricating excuses for the players failures on a daily basis.

Maybe it's time for a radical change for Sandoval, one that does not require any of the speed and agility that he obviously has lost and that contributes to his poor play at third base.

As Gorden Edes notes, "There is nothing in his five-year, $95 million contract he signed last November that prohibits him from occasionally stopping the balls that have routinely skipped past him. One of the most familiar sights of the season is Sandoval diving late, especially toward the line, and failing to make a play, which was the case on a hard ground ball that eluded Sandoval and went for a two-base hit, triggering Chicago's three-run rally in the second."

He also talked to Farrell and he has acknowledged the defensive deficiencies, and scouts who watched Sandoval regularly for the San Francisco Giants say the decline has been steep. That is a very, very bad sign for the Red Sox moving forward with an aging, slow, heavy Panda who prefers to raid the cookie jar in the clubhouse instead of working on conditioning.

What about moving him over to first base after the Red Sox get rid of Mike Napoli, which should be done sooner rather than later?

Sandoval has 55 starts at first base so it is a valid possibility. Maybe move Hanley Ramirez over to third base, but not sure he can move fast enough either after watching his antics in left field this year.

It's just a thought, but something has got to change with the Red Sox looking at many more years of Sandoval's slow belly flopping and chugging around the bases.

Maybe the Red Sox need to ban cookies from the clubhouse?

Post a comment or via twitter @erics_redsox with your thoughts.

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