Panda's knee injury considered to be minor

Third baseman forced to exit in seventh after getting plunked

Panda's knee injury considered to be minor

BOSTON -- Third baseman Pablo Sandoval may not have been able to avoid the pitch that struck his left knee during Tuesday night's 4-3 win over the Rangers at Fenway Park, but he looks to have dodged a bullet all the same.

Sandoval had to be helped back to the Red Sox's dugout after taking a 94-mph fastball to the kneecap in the seventh inning. The veteran went down in the batter's box immediately, and after a few painful moments, he hobbled back into the clubhouse with the aid of two trainers.

Luckily for the Red Sox, a scan revealed no structural damage. He will be re-evaluated Wednesday, but manager John Farrell said the team considers the injury to be minor.

"Everything is clean as far as that goes," Farrell said. "Likely, he's going to be sore. We'll check him when he comes in."

Sandoval appeared at ease in Boston's clubhouse after the game, even smiling about getting plunked. He was merely sore, as one might imagine.

"So far so good," Sandoval said. "A good break for me. It's going to be sore for a couple of days."

Brock Holt replaced Sandoval as a pinch-runner and assumed his spot at third base. Sandoval, hitting .270 with five home runs and 16 RBIs, finished the game 1-for-3. He has started at the hot corner in 35 of 38 games played this season.

"I try and get out [of the way], but [the pitch] is just right there," Sandoval said. "You have to take it. You have to keep your head on. Keep working hard for tomorrow, feel better and I'll try to be out there on the field."

Alec Shirkey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.