Sandoval was placed on the 10-day DL with a left inner ear infection, the team announced Tuesday. The illness had been coming on for a few days, according to manager John Farrell, with Sandoval’s fever climbing during Monday night’s 4-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals.
The Red Sox replaced Sandoval by calling up infielder Deven Marrero from Triple-A Pawtucket. Marrero was in the lineup at third base Tuesday night against the Royals.
Sandoval isn’t eligible to return until July 1. Even then, Farrell said he “wouldn’t rule it out” that Sandoval will make a minor league rehab assignment.
“I think the importance of everyday play certainly would be a benefit to him,” Farrell said. “See how best we could continue to bring him along and bring some confidence and gain some momentum with his own status here.”
Last week, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski indicated Sandoval would have a chance to reclaim the everyday third-base job before the team considers adding outside help before the July 31 trade deadline to improve upon a worst-in-the-majors .565 OPS from its third basemen.
But Sandoval has started only three of the past 10 games, with Farrell reluctant to use him against left-handed pitchers or in situations where a more steady defender might help the Red Sox win. Sandoval is only 7-for-35 with two extra-base hits, three walks and 11 strikeouts since returning from a one-month absence due to a sprained knee.
“This is not an ideal situation. We all recognize that,” Farrell said. “We support Pablo in his return. For a guy that’s been a longtime everyday player, we recognize that it’s a tough situation. But at the same time, you try and make the most of your roster and take advantage of what you have currently to win today, and that’s the approach that we’ve taken.”
Marrero represents a defensive upgrade over Sandoval at third base, having helped to stabilize the position earlier this season after Sandoval injured his knee. But Marrero hasn’t produced much at the plate. In 83 at-bats over 33 games with the Red Sox this season, he is batting .157 with three homers, 11 RBIs and a .497 OPS. Sandoval is batting .212 with four homers, 12 RBIs and a .622 OPS in 99 at-bats over 32 games.
The Red Sox also recalled first baseman Sam Travis from Triple-A and optioned reliever Austin Maddox. Travis was in the lineup Tuesday night, with the Red Sox wanting to give first baseman Mitch Moreland a chance to rest a broken toe on his left foot.