BOSTON -- For the second night in a row, Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval had to exit during the middle of a game. This time, Sandoval was belted on the left forearm by a pitch from Chris Sale that he actually swung at for strike three.
Sandoval crouched down in obvious pain after making the third out of the fourth inning in Thursday's 8-2 victory over the White Sox, and Josh Rutledge replaced him at third base. Sandoval went for X-rays after leaving the game and sustained only a contusion.
In Wednesday's game, Sandoval came out after five innings because of dehydration on a hot and humid night.
"I feel better, a lot better. I got two IVs yesterday, I did one today, I'll be in the lineup tonight," Sandoval said before Thursday's game.
Sandoval isn't having the type of year on offense or defense that he had hoped for, but he is adamant that his weight hasn't played a contributing role.
"No, no, I'm still the same way that I was last year, the way that I finished my season," Sandoval said. "No, I don't have complaints about it. I have to be working hard, yes I do. But I don't focus on those things. I focus on trying to do the best out there for my team."
"Well, the one thing we do know is that there's a wide range in which it will fluctuate and that's been consistent year to year with Pablo," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "I do know this -- his work ethic in the weight room, his work ethic on the field is consistent. It has been since the first day he got on the field with us here and yet there's been challenges that we've become aware of over the course of his career and you're trying to align a number of things, and that's the consistency to the work routine as well as the nutritional side of things."
Entering Thursday, Sandoval had made 12 errors, one more than all of last season.
"I've been working with [infield instructor Brian Butterfield] out there," said Sandoval. "Every single day I get outside to get my ground-ball work on those things."
Sandoval plays a more shallow third base than most players, some of his misplays have been on balls that he hasn't reacted to quickly enough.
"Well, there's a comfort level with his positioning," said Farrell. "Coming in on the ball has been a challenge for him and his comfort level is to play in a little bit closer. He's been accustomed to the National League, where the two-out bunt is not uncommon and sometimes even a two-strike bunt. As he's coming over here, as we try to move him back a little bit, there's a comfort zone that every player feels on the field defensively. That's still a work in progress.
"Now, granted, the closer he is to home plate, the less reaction time. There's been some footwork that's been addressed, particularly in his pre-pitch setup. There's been some detection that his first move is to come up, rather than laterally. All those things, we've sat with him on video and reviewed it. And we continue to work on it in his pregame routine and yet there's been times where it has not played out on the field."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.