Travis Shaw has been red-hot (.450 average and 1.188 OPS in 14 games) and incumbent Pablo Sandoval - in the second year of his 5/95 contract and coming off a dismal 2015 season - will miss the next few days due to lower back tightness. Manager John Farrell says the final weeks of spring training will be key in seeing who gets the job. And GM Dave Dombrowski said that the size of a player's contract will not be a determining factor in whether he's in the starting lineup.
I think I've traditionally taken that approach. It's funny, Jim Leyland would always say, "A player's big contract would guarantee them one thing, that they had a bigger check to bring home every two weeks. It doesn't guarantee them anything else other than that." Normally, you hope there is a correlation between the two.Dombrowski noted that both John Henry and Tom Werner agree with this philosophy.
Eduardo Rodriguez will begin the season on the disabled list after suffering a knee injury in late February. Because Henry Owens was optioned to Pawtucket, the fifth spot in the rotation is now between Steven Wright and Roenis Elias.
Reliever Carson Smith also will not be on the Opening Day roster. Smith had an MRI on Tuesday and it was determined that he has a strain of the flexor muscle in his right elbow.
Hanley Ramirez has been impressing people with his play at first base. HR:
Honestly, every time somebody is up there, I want it to be a ground ball. It's unbelievable. Every day is getting better and better and better and better. I feel like everybody is looking at me like, he's going to make a great play right here. That's what I expect from myself. Get ready to dive right here, catch everything.Two SoSH posts from this week:
I've been able to watch a lot of games this spring, somehow, and from my eyes Hanley has been absolutely fine. He's made some picks, had a few diving plays, a successful pick-off. Everything you could ask. On this ESPN feed right now, Olney gave a little report on how pleased everyone in the organization has been with him. Someone in the booth right now is saying how people he's talked to around the league think he looks shockingly good. ...luckysox:
The few times I've seen him, including yesterday, he's looked like a regular first baseman, not like a linebacker playing left field. He looked physically out of place all of last year, and now he just looks like any other first baseman. And what I think has been most noticeable to me is that he is engaged - because he has to be. He's excitable when his fielders make a good play ... I think being back in the infield and being needed on every play is going to suit him well. Viva El Hanley!