Pablo Sandoval isn’t a lock to be the Red Sox’ starting third baseman on Opening Day.
Travis Shaw, who went 3-for-4 against the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday, moved his spring training batting average to a red-hot .474, an average that has manager John Farrell considering keeping the 25-year-old in the lineup when April rolls around. If Shaw gets the nod, he’ll start in front of Boston’s $17 million man.
“[Sandoval] understands this is about putting the best team on the field from Day 1,” Farrell told the Boston Herald, “and games in April are equally important to every other time of the year and it’s our job to get out of the gate with the best team on the field.”
Sandoval put together a 2-for-3 showing in Monday’s exhibition with a pair of RBIs, and is now hitting .290 on the spring.
“It was a good showing for him. He swung the bat well,” Farrell said via the Herald. “There is no denying his work, the amount of work he’s putting in, the intensity in which that work is being carried about, and as he’s aware, the work has to translate to performance, for any and all of us.”
The two-time All Star hit .245 with 10 homers and 47 RBIs in 126 games with the Red Sox in 2015.
While Sandoval has played third base his entire major league career, Shaw hasn’t played the position since college. Still, the Red Sox seem impressed with his work there this spring.
“I think (Shaw)’s played the position with some ease,” Farrell said. “He’s shown some good range, particularly to his glove side. The internal clock and the range has been good.”
Sandoval is aware of the competition but tried to downplay it Monday.
“Every day is a competition – every single day, every moment,” Sandoval said, via the Patriot Ledger. “Every guy competes to be better and better. I don’t know why you guys make such a big deal. Every guy is here working hard to make the team better.”
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