Boston Red Sox

Kennedy: Decision on Sandoval coming ‘in the next day or so’

Kennedy: Decision on Sandoval coming ‘in the next day or so’

Red Sox team president Sam Kennedy said in an interview with WEEI that a decision on Pablo Sandoval’s future could come “in the next day or so.”

“We have a big decision coming up. [Sandoval] is coming off a rehab assignment. We’ll see how that plays out here in the near future,” Kennedy said on the “Ordway, Merloni & Fauria" show Thursday. “There has been a lot of conversations internally, but I’ll leave it at that. We’ll see what Dave [Dombrowski] decides to do here in the next day or so.”

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Sandoval, limited to 32 major league games this season (.212, four homers, 12 RBI, .622 OPS), has been on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Pawtucket after being placed on the disabled list for the second time this season, this time with an ear infection. 

Minor league rehab stints are limited to 20 days and for Sandoval that would come on Monday. There’s been plenty of speculation the Sox would release the third baseman, despite him being owed $18.6 million for 2018 and another $18.6 million in 2019.

As for the July 31 trade deadline, Kennedy said third base and pitching are the focus. 

“It goes without saying we’re examining the third base situation very closely," Kennedy said. "Dave and John Farrell are dealing with that. You always want to add pitching, pitching and more pitching if you can because it seems postseason baseball seems to always coming down to that. The market is just starting to develop.”

Drellich: Health of Dustin Pedroia, Eduardo Nunez essential in final week

Drellich: Health of Dustin Pedroia, Eduardo Nunez essential in final week

BOSTON — Considering the Sox offense lacks the firepower of potential playoff opponents, significant health issues for key hitters going into the final week of the season is disconcerting.

Every other American League team that's clinched a postseason spot or is expected to stands in the top five for runs scored per game across the majors: the Astros, Yankees, Indians and Twins. The Sox are 10th. 

Every team is dealing with injuries. But the Sox are in a particularly precarious spot because of how they're built. 

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The regular-season results show the Sox have adapted well overall when Dustin Pedroia and Eduardo Nunez have missed time. But how much the Sox can get from those two in October is up in the air.

Nunez was in the lineup for the first time in 16 games on Monday night at Fenway Park, a positive sign as he recovers from a ligament injury in his right knee.

He’s not exactly full go quite yet.

“It’s quicker than what it possibly could have been. You’re talking about a ligament damage to the PCL and I know it’s less severe than an ACL/MCL, but still it’s about pain tolerance,” Sox manager John Farrell said Monday. “It’s about managing it. His body has to recondition to take care of that. His muscles have to respond in a different way. … If he feels a little bit of a zinger, that’s going to go away. He’s not putting himself at further risk.

“Whether or not he’s a stolen base threat tonight versus growing into it over this final week — I would anticipate he’s going to have to test it more game speed than we’ve been able to simulate right now.”

Meanwhile, Dustin Pedroia, managing a left knee injury all season, was not in the lineup after a 1-for-26 road trip.

“When the knee starts to talk back to him a little bit, we’ve all got to listen to it and give him a down day,” Farrell said. “I would expect him to be back on the  field tomorrow.”

Farrell thought it reasonable to connect the knee to Pedroia’s recent poor performance hitting wise.

All year, resiliency has been a buzz word for Sox because of their propensity for late-inning comebacks. Sunday’s eighth-inning rally against the Reds was the latest example, leading to the Sox’ 42nd come-from-behind win. 

How they’ve dealt with a variety of health situations adds another layer to their reputation for handling adversity. Per spotrac.com, the Sox have had the fifth most disabled list days this season, 1,601. 

The Indians were doubted going into last year’s postseason because of health situations with their pitching. But it’d also be foolish to minimize the importance of Pedroia and Nunez, and how they look in this final week.

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Price can pitch with less rest, but unlikely to go back-to-back before playoffs

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Price can pitch with less rest, but unlikely to go back-to-back before playoffs

BOSTON -- It’s unlikely David Price will pitch in consecutive games in the regular season, and it doesn’t sound like manager John Farrell feels Price needs to do so in the postseason, either.

Nothing is ruled out, however.

“Initially it would be multi-innings,” Farrell said of Price's postseason role. “But if there was an outing in which it was one inning -- that’s not to limit the fact if he felt physically fine the next day, we could possibly use him. But in this final week, it's not an item that’s got to be checked, to get him on back-to-back days.”

Farrell said Price can already be used with fewer than four days rest, which is the interval starting pitchers use and is also the amount of rest Price had between his two appearances. Farrell said Price ideally would be used with fewer than four days rest some time this week.

“And you know what, he was available two days after he pitches two innings in Tampa,” Farrell said. “He pitched two innings in Tampa [on Sept. 17], was going to be a minimum of two days down. He was ready to pitch on Wednesday [on Sept. 19] in Baltimore. We got a one-sided game [that day], off-day Thursday. So yeah, I can tell you this right now, he’s ready for a better frequency than four days.”

Yet, at the same time, Price is likely going to have at least three days rest before his next outing. Farrell said he wants to stay away from him Monday.

Farrell said Price's role is usage-dependent.

“Likely wouldn't go to him tonight for another day of rest after 40 pitches [Friday]," Farrell said. "We would only pitch him back to back if there was an outing in which it was 12 pitches or less, and he was available the next night. But I think in the two outings in which he’s pitched, that's probably more the role that I envision. 

“Not to say that couldn't change going forward, but that was a big 2 2/3 innings the other night. It bridged the gap to Addison [Reed] and then to Craig [Kimbrel].”

Farrell on Monday noted that “Price has kind of allowed that bullpen to kind of fall in line a little bit more consistently.” Yet, if Price can’t pitch on consecutive days, that leaves open a question of how things go without Price available in the postseason.

Could the Sox get more out of Price if they pitch him in Games 2 and 3 of the Division Series, with one off-day in between for travel, rather than using him in Game 1? 

Maybe that’s the thinking. Because ideally, the Sox wouldn’t need Price for much length in a game Chris Sale starts, and Sale’s obviously going to be the Game 1 starter.