Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval’s foot injury has landed him on the disabled list, according to Alex Pavlovic of the Mercury News. The foot has been bothering the Panda since before San Francisco’s trip to St. Louis on June 1st. Sandoval has played in four games since missing the entire Cardinals’ series but was clearly uncomfortable, leaving Saturday’s game against Arizona after playing just three innings. Nick Noonan has been recalled from Triple-A Fresno to replace Sandoval on the roster.
CEO Larry Baer went on 95.7 The Game yesterday and described Sandoval’s injury as a “stress fracture”, but as Henry Schulman of the Chronicle points out the Giants official diagnosis is “strain”. Baer also dismissed Sandoval’s weight as the reason for the injury, but the Twitterverse has taken to it’s usual business of Panda Bashing.
My official position on this issue is utter disgust. Sandoval spoke to Yahoo’s Jeff Passan before the season, giving himself a two-year reprieve before he feels he needs to slim down. That’s childish and irresponsible. Fortunately, the Giants (and Panda I suppose) have an out as Sandoval becomes a free agent after next season. His weight and potential weight loss will play a big (no pun) factor in the value of his first big free-agent contract.
With the vitriol out of the way, I do not blame the foot strain/stress fracture/sore toesies on Pablo’s weight. There is no way of knowing if a slimmer Sandoval would have been able to avoid the injury. Baseball’s disabled list is riddled with players of all sizes. A quick scan of Prince Fielder’s Baseball Reference page would show you that he played in all but one game from 2009-2012. They have a similar build, play similar positions and Fielder is almost three years older than Pablo. Panda’s weight is an issue, but it’s not something to be blamed for every nick and bruise suffered during a 162-game season.
With Sandoval out, Bruce Bochy will most likely play the platoon game at third base with Noonan and Joaquin Arias. Noonan bats lefty and Arias from the right side, so keep an eye on match ups to see what the old ball coach does. I think Arias — as the more seasoned player — will be able to cross platoon lines and get some starts against right-handed pitchers. Though considering Noonan was recently demoted for the purpose of getting more regular playing time, this could be the 24-year-old’s time to shine.