Things aren't going great in Pablo Sandoval's world right now. Off the field he's got some -- heretofore only alleged -- off-the-field issues brewing.
And apparently, there's already concern about how he'll play on the field when he returns, as Panda's apparently plumped up quite a bit since going on the disabled list because of a fractured hamate bone.
Bruce Bochy, via Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com, called out Panda for potentially needing to make a positional shift because of his inability to defend the hot corner.
“He’s been told we have enough first basemen,” Bochy said when asked about Panda possibly playing first base when he returns. “That said, hopefully we’re not forced to make a change. That’s in Pablo’s hands.
“Being able to make the plays Joaquin has been making, that’s so vital. You look at how important the plays were in (Sunday’s) ballgame. That’s part of when (Sandoval) comes back up here. It’s not just the hitting. It’s how he’s playing third base, which is what he’s doing today.”
Sandoval's weight has been an issue at various points over the past few years and it seems like every time the Panda gets away from the team, people end up worrying about whether or not he's going to pack on a few pounds.
That's clearly a concern. A bigger concern is what happens if Panda comes back and can't defend third base adequately.
Joaquin Arias has been wonderful on the defensive end at third, and it wouldn't be smart to change up what's working at the expense of the defense.
That being said, Panda was clearly the best hitter on the Giants before his injury, and he's an All-Star caliber third baseman when he's on the field. It would be stunning to see him this derailed by a hand injury.