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 Posted: Sun Sep 25th, 2016 05:48 am
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lobo316



Joined: Sun Oct 14th, 2007
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Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters Saturday that injured third baseman Pablo Sandoval is "well ahead of schedule" in his recovery from shoulder surgery, and could return this season if needed.

The news comes as a surprise given Sandoval's tumultuous first month of the campaign, which began with him losing the starting third base job to Travis Shaw, and unceremoniously ended when he underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum. Speaking to the media ahead of his team's matinee tilt at Tampa Bay, Farrell said Sandoval's shoulder has shown significant improvement and he's already appeared in two instructional games as the designated hitter.

"You can never forecast injury, you can never forecast what takes place ahead," Farrell said, according to Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald. "Nothing has been ruled out with Pablo. Particularly with how he’s responding."

The first-place Red Sox have surged of late, winning nine straight to take control of a once-crowded AL East. But despite their high-powered offense - the Red Sox have scored 75 more runs than the next closest team in the AL - Boston has struggled mightily to generate production from the hot corner, ranking last in the majors with a .697 OPS.

"We're not getting too far ahead of ourselves, here," Farrell said. "But at the same time, compliment him for the work that he's put in. The way he's responded to the rehab. The way he's worked himself back into better condition. So we're staying open-minded."

The club's offensive woes at third have worsened since the All-Star break. Shaw is batting .204 with 0.1 WAR while top prospect Yoan Moncada has looked overmatched since being promoted earlier this month. Boston's other option at third, Aaron Hill, whom the club acquired in July, has also struggled, batting .219/.287/.276 with one homer in 40 games.