CHICAGO -- Pablo Sandoval's second season with the Red Sox is officially over, almost before it began.
Sandoval, who appeared in just three games in April after losing the starting third baseman's job to Travis Shaw in spring training, underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder Tuesday and won't return until 2017.
"Dr. (James) Andrews (who performed the procedure) said the surgery went well,'' said Dave Dombrowski, "as well as can be expected. I talked to Pablo myself already today, talked to his representative Rick Thurman. Pablo's happy that they've been able to fix the problem and committed to getting ready for next year.''
Andrews told Dombrowski that in a best-case scenario with "everything going perfectly right, maybe he could be ready (to play) in six months,'' taking his recovery into November.
Sandoval was bothered in the past by labrum issues, and they appear to have worsened over time, though no one with the Red Sox can pinpoint an incident or specific time when Sandoval aggravated the condition further.
"It happens,'' said Dombrowski. "I don't really know what happened that one day he woke up and couldn't lift up his shoulder. But that was really the first indication that we had that he was hurting.''
"Even after the onset of the injury,'' said John Farrell, "Pablo and I had some conversations daily. . . There was a play in Toronto (in the first week of the season) when he dove to the (foul) line and saved a run. Whether the impact there moved along the injury, that's a possibility. Even in conversations with him, there was not one event that he could recall.''
Dombrowski said Sandoval will return to Boston soon, where his girlfriend is due to deliver a baby in the next few weeks. After that, Sandoval will return to Florida, though it's undecided whether he will be based in Miami, where he lives in the off-season, or at the Red Sox spring training facility in Fort Myers.
Dombrowski said that while an exact rehab plan has yet to be put together, the Red Sox "will have our eyes on him on a continual basis. But I can't say that someone (from the organization) will be there all the time, but quite regularly.''
Asked if the time off might enable Sandoval to address some conditioning issues, Dombrowski said: "He already has. I'm not going to give you specific (numbers), but he already has dropped weight during the season, once he's been under our care on a daily basis. I think he's committed to doing that, we're committed to doing that. We'll have a very thorough program to address a lot of different issues between now and next season.''
Left unanswered is how Sandoval can contribute to the Red Sox in the three remaining years left on his five-year, $95 million deal.
"Everybody keeps asking me about 2017,'' said Dombrowski. '' 'What are you going to do when David retires?' My response is, let's go through 2016 and then we'll worry about that in the winter time.''
The Red Sox get a much needed boost to their bullpen as they begin their road trip through Chicago and New York. They have activated right-handed pitcher Carson Smith off the disabled list.
Smith was placed on the 15-day DL on April 3 (retroactive to March 25) with a right flexor strain suffered in spring training. He made two rehab appearances with the Portland Sea Dogs, retiring all five batters over 1.2 innings of work, striking out two in the process.
This is Smith’s first season with the Red Sox after being acquired in a traded with the Seattle Mariners in December.
In 79 major league games from 2014-15, the right-hander went 3-5 with 13 saves, a 2.07 ERA (18 ER), and 102 strikeouts in 78.1 innings pitched (11.7 SO/9.0 IP). Smith set Mariners reliever records for the most scoreless appearances (20) and most scoreless innings (19.1) to begin a major league career.
To make room on the 25-man roster, infielder Marco Hernandez was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket following Sunday night’s game against the New York Yankees.
Right-handed hitting Chris Young gets the start in left field against left-hander Jose Quintana (3-1, 1.47 ERA) and Ryan Hanigan catchers knuckleballer Steven Wright (2-2, 1.37) as the Red Sox open a three-game series against the White Sox tonight in Chicago.
The White Sox have the best record in the American League at 18-8. The Red Sox (15-10) have moved into first-place in the A.L. East after a three-game sweep of the Yankees.
The full lineups:
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Travis Shaw 3B
Chris Young LF
Ryan Hanigan C
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Steven Wright RHP
Adam Eaton RF
Jimmy Rollins SS
Jose Abreau 1B
Todd Frazier 3B
Melky Cabrera LF
Brett Lawrie 2B
Jerry Sands DH
Dioner Navarro C
Austin Jackson CF