Remember Pablo Sandoval? He was the latest in a string of overpriced disappointments the Red Sox acquired over the last decade in an attempt to replicate the magic of David Ortiz.
Since being DFA-ed by Boston early in the 2017 season and crawling back to the Giants, Panda has stayed in the spotlight. He walked back all the comments he made about his former-now-current team with a BS piece in The Players Tribune. He hit a walk-off homer in their last game of the season, costing San Francisco the number-one draft pick.
And now, in perhaps the funniest moment of the new season, Panda impressed on… the mound. The 3rd baseman still on the Red Sox payroll pitched a perfect inning in the Giant’s loss to the Dodgers yesterday.
The Giants were losing 15-6 in the first game of a double-header, and manager Bruce Bochy decided to save his bullpen for the second game. The Giants hadn’t used a position player in a relief stint since 1991, though there has been a steady increase in position player pitching over the last decade or so. The Phillies, Brewers, and Rays have also already used position players on the mound this season.
Sandoval pitched a 1-2-3 9th inning, with 8 strikes over 11 pitches. The game was already over at that point regardless, but both sides admitted to being impressed. After all, it was Sandoval’s first time ever pitching in a Major League game.
Post-game, when asked where he learned his curveball, he told the San Francisco Chronicle, “You don’t learn that. You’re born with that.” His looping 70-mph curve was definitely a sight, so much so that it got Chris Taylor to have at it for a swinging strike.
Sandoval’s velocity ranged from 63-87 mph, so he’s not exactly suited for regular relief appearances, but baseball is a performance as much as it is a game, and the big man definitely entertained.