BOSTON -- Pablo Sandoval's latest attempt to build some momentum this season starts Tuesday when he opens a Minor League rehab assignment for Triple-A Pawtucket.The third baseman's latest setback was an inner ear infection that happened at a time the Red Sox were so short-handed due to a rash of
BOSTON -- Pablo Sandoval's latest attempt to build some momentum this season starts Tuesday when he opens a Minor League rehab assignment for Triple-A Pawtucket.
The third baseman's latest setback was an inner ear infection that happened at a time the Red Sox were so short-handed due to a rash of injuries in the infield that they had no choice but to put him on the 10-day disabled list.
Sandoval is eligible to be activated on Friday, when the Red Sox open a road trip in Toronto. But the veteran might be granted some extra time in the Minors to see if he can get into a groove.
When Sandoval was on the DL earlier in the season with a right knee sprain, the Red Sox had to rush him through his Minors rehab assignment and activate him before he was ready due to an injury to Dustin Pedroia.
"Ideally we'd like to avoid that this time," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "He'll have the opportunity to do that [with Pawtucket]. We know that his feedback in all of this, not that he's directing this by any means, but his feedback on how he's feeling as far as timing is going, how he's feeling comfortably, or how he's feeling defensively at third base, that's going to be part of it.
"What the staff there is evaluating as well. So when he returns, it's with the intent that he's got an opportunity and certainly the ability to impact our team on both sides of the baseball."
In 32 games this season, Sandoval is slashing .212/.269/.354 with four homers and 12 RBIs. He also has five errors.
Interestingly, veteran Jhonny Peralta will be in Pawtucket alongside Sandoval. Peralta, who was signed to a Minor League deal last week, reported to Pawtucket on Monday. If Sandoval is unable to improve his level of play, Peralta could get a chance with the Red Sox.
During their time together at Pawtucket, they will switch off between third base and designated hitter.
"I can't say one is more important than the other," said Farrell. "They're both important. The plan right now initially would be every other day for each [at third base], with the other DHing."
Third base has been a trouble spot for the Red Sox all season, be it a rash of injuries or the lack of offense.
Tzu-Wei Lin, who was promoted from Double-A Portland to the Majors on Saturday, was in the lineup on Monday against the Twins, making him the sixth player to start a game at third for the Red Sox this season. Lin notched his first Major League hit in his first big league at-bat Monday.
• Lefty Henry Owens, once one of the top prospects in Boston's farm system, had his option transferred from Pawtucket to Portland on Monday. The idea is for Owens to focus on mechanical adjustments to address his ongoing control issues, which have worsened in recent starts. Owens walked eight in two of his last three starts. For the season, the 24-year-old has 60 walks in 69 innings.
"As you kind of dig deeper, his misses have been in two consistent spots," said Farrell. "Up and away, up to the arm side or down to the glove side. As he goes back to Portland, there's going to be an adjustment with his arm slot to get it farther away from his head, maybe more of a true three-quarters arm slot vs. over the top, with the hope and the intent that the command of the baseball would certainly improve."
• Hanley Ramirez was in Monday's original lineup, but he was scratched due to soreness in his left knee that he sustained when he was hit by a pitch on Sunday.
• Side-winder Carson Smith has re-initiated a throwing program in his attempted return from Tommy John surgery. The righty was close to starting a Minor League rehab assignment 10 days ago when soreness in his elbow forced a temporary shutdown.
"We're hopeful it's not as prolonged a buildup as it was prior to being shut down this last time," said Farrell.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.