After trades, Indians give Sands chance to shine
'We're big fans of how he's acted,' Francona says
OAKLAND -- The Indians feel that it is time to reward Jerry Sands for being a good soldier. The journeyman has willingly accepted a role as an organizational depth player to this point this year, but Cleveland wanted to see if there is more potential in the right-handed corner outfielder.
With a vacancy on the active roster following the trade that sent lefty Marc Rzepczynski to the Padres on Friday, and an offense in need of help in the wake of the deals that shipped Brandon Moss and David Murphy out of town earlier this week, the Tribe recalled Sands from Triple-A Columbus before Friday's 2-1 win over the A's.
Indians manager Terry Francona said Sands would get time in the outfield and could help out at first base.
"We want to try to wait [to promote Sands] until we were sure we could keep him," Francona said. "Now, it's the time. He'll play some outfield, some first. He's certainly a guy that he deserves the chance. When he's come here, he's done well. In Triple-A, he's done everything we've asked. He's been a great teammate, a hard worker. So, we kind of want to watch him more, for sure."
The 27-year-old Sands -- signed to a Minor League contract over the offseason -- hit .375 (9-for-24) with one homer and two doubles in 10 games between a pair of earlier stints with the Indians. Both times, he filled in in the wake of other issues on the roster and was subsequently designated for assignment due to being out of options. Sands was willing to accept an outright assignment to Triple-A.
"Obviously, they gave me the two chances already," Sands said. "I felt like I had a good spring and I had the relationship with [general manager Chris Antonetti and Francona], and the whole coaching staff and front office. I felt like that was valuable for me to kind of lean on and say, 'I don't want to really start fresh somewhere else, where I'm not really sure what I'm getting into.'"
At Triple-A Columbus, Sands hit .287 with 14 home runs, 12 doubles, 46 RBIs and a .948 OPS in 66 games.
"He can hit a little bit. And I think he's an underrated defender," Francona said. "So, we just want to see him play a little bit. We're big fans of how he's acted and how he's handled things. I dont think there's any other way to really say it. He's really a professional."