Panda to sit out, work on fielding

June 10th, 2017

BOSTON -- Red Sox third baseman likely won't start again until Monday at the earliest as he tries to shore up his defense, which had been inconsistent before he went on the disabled list and has continued to be since he's been back.

"We're taking the opportunity to continue to work with him," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "We know that there's been some plays that have been a little bit of a struggle for him. With another left-hander [Chris Sale] on the mound tonight against a predominantly right-handed-hitting lineup, more of a ground-ball pitcher, yeah I guess there's some strategy involved [in keeping him out], certainly."

Josh Rutledge started Saturday's game at third. With lefty pitching on Sunday for the Tigers, Sandoval is all but certain to be out of the lineup again. He typically only starts against righties.

Sandoval has made four errors in 48 total chances this season.

"There have been some times when just re-directing his body, if he's going to his glove side, to get back in line to deliver the ball through the target, that's taken an added step at times," said Farrell. "Then you find where you're possibly rushing a throw to cut down a runner. If that leads to a little bit of an errant command or control of a throw, that could possibly be it. But still with any infielder, you're talking about footwork and timing and direction."

Sandoval hasn't gotten his bat going consistently either. He is slashing .205/.253/.364 with four homers and 12 RBIs.

Worth noting

• Righty reliever threw batting practice for the second time in a span of four days, and he could be cleared to go on a Minor League rehab assignment in the next couple of days. Smith underwent Tommy John surgery last May and could become a key component in the bullpen when he returns.

• Left-hander is making strong progress in his battle back from a right knee subluxation.

"Flat ground today. Long-toss out to 130, 140 feet again," said Farrell. "He's made, I think, very good progress, in the days since being examined by Dr. [James] Andrews. We're taking this in kind of five-day work increments. He's coming up on this first five days. We'll map out increases in physical activity, agility work, all that, after tomorrow. We would hope in the coming days, he's back on the mound here soon."