Sandoval activated, makes Braves debut

September 28th, 2020

ATLANTA -- introduced himself to his new Braves teammates as they prepared for Sunday's 9-1 loss to the Red Sox in the regular-season finale. Now, the 2012 World Series MVP Award winner will have a chance to extend his postseason success.

Sandoval was added to the Braves’ active and 40-man rosters a couple of hours before serving as third baseman on Sunday, when he went 0-for-2 with two walks in his club debut. The 34-year-old veteran is now eligible to be placed on Atlanta’s postseason roster.

“The guy brings a wealth of experience with what we’re getting ready to do,” manager Brian Sntiker said. “I think it’s good that we can see him in person.”

When Sandoval signed a Minor League contract with Atlanta after being released by the Giants earlier this month, the assumption was he would be placed on the Braves’ bench during the playoffs. The accomplished switch-hitter has batted .344 with a .935 OPS in 167 career postseason plate appearances.

Sandoval hit just .220 with a .546 OPS in 90 plate appearances for the Giants this season, but he tallied 14 homers with a .820 OPS in 296 plate appearances in 2019. He spent the past couple of weeks working out at the Braves’ alternate training site, Triple-A Gwinnett’s Coolray Field.

As a switch-hitter, Sandoval provides some versatility as a pinch-hitter. But his greatest value to the Braves might come from the left side. Switch-hitter Johan Camargo was optioned earlier this month, and left-handed-hitting Ender Inciarte has a .519 OPS in 127 plate appearances.

“There aren’t going to be any situations that are too big for [Sandoval],” Snitker said. “All the reports were that he was swinging it well at the alternate site.”

To make room for Sandoval on the 40-man roster, the Braves placed Cole Hamels on the 45-day injured list. Tucker Davidson, who made his MLB debut when he started in Saturday's 8-2 loss, was optioned to create a spot on the 25-man roster.