Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval was benched Thursday after admitting he looked at Instagram on his phone during Wednesday night’s game in Atlanta. The action was in violation of the team’s social media policy.
“He’s not in the lineup for two reasons,’’ Red Sox manager John Farrell said to radio broadcaster Dave O’Brien during Thursday’s pregame show on WEEI. “One, it’s a major league rule that anything pertaining to social media can’t be used, transmitted, broadcast during a game which is going on at the time. And we also have our own policies in house that both were broken and as a result Pablo’s on the bench here to start this one.’’
As spotted by Barstool Sports Red Sox blogger Jared Carrabis, Sandoval’s official Instagram account “liked’’ a couple of provocative photos of a woman who goes by “diva_legacy’’ during Boston’s 5-2 loss on Wednesday. Sandoval told reporters Thursday that he accessed Instagram after taking his phone with him into the bathroom. On the field, he went 2 for 4 at the plate Wednesday night, extending his hitting streak to eight straight games.
“You know like I said, it’s the one thing that I let my teammates down,’’ Sandoval said before Thursday night’s game in Atlanta. “Ain’t gonna happen no more so, I learned from that.’’
Sandoval confirmed that he spoke to Farrell about the incident.
“Yeah, I apologized with him, and with the GM,’’ Sandoval said. “My teammates, we had a meeting. You know, like I said, I’ll take the punishment so, when you grow up, you learn from a lot of things, you grow up every single day of your life, so I’ll learn from that.’’
Farrell described the conversation he had with Sandoval regarding the in-game Instagram use.
“He took complete accountability to it,’’ Farrell said. “He was honest about it, knows that he broke the rule, and as such what the ramifications are.’’
As far as this incident showing that Sandoval might not be not focused or disciplined enough right now, Farrell doesn’t think that’s the case.
“I think this is a one-time incident,’’ Farrell said. “People will automatically say, ‘well, is he not focused?’ and yet if you look at the games played and the recent stretch of production and success at the plate, I think if you look at the timestamp on the Instagram itself, it was probably six hitters prior to when he was due up next. That’s not making excuses by any means, that’s just stating the facts as they are and unfortunately it took place last night.’’
Farrell said that in addition to the benching tonight, he’s not sure if further punishment would be coming from the league.
“We don’t know if they’ll be any further discipline that’s handed down by MLB, whether that’s in terms of a fine or any other kind of discipline, we’re trying to get some acknowlegment of that right now but in the interim, just in house, we’ve handled some things. I’ve addressed them directly with Pablo and others, and he’s not in the lineup tonight.’’
A three-time World Series champion with the San Francisco Giants, Sandoval signed a five-year, $95 million contract in November. Entering play on Thursday, he is batting .270 with six home runs, 23 RBI and a .733 OPS. His tally of nine errors in 57 games played is second-most in the majors among third basemen.
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