MONTREAL -- Though Pablo Sandoval is starting the season in the unfamiliar role of reserve, Red Sox manager John Farrell emphasized on Friday that the veteran will have a chance to win his job back. But it will have to be done through tangible improvements.
"As I outlined to him as we sat down and spoke, he's got a chance to win it back. 'Go do something about it. We're going to work with you.' We're going to support you,'" Farrell said. "He needs to be a contributing member of our team for us to get to where our goals are. And that's where that stands."
Specifically, Sandoval needs to regain some range on defense.
"Again, through his work with [infield instructor Brian Butterfield] each and every day," Farrell said. "And this isn't being put on Butter, but I can tell you that the work is designed to do that. There's also things that are done in the weight room to help that first-step quickness and first-step explosion. Those are all things that a comprehensive approach are designed to get Panda what he's shown for a number of years before signing over here."
Farrell was asked if Sandoval can have the range he needs at his current size.
"We're working at that," Farrell said. "As long as Panda continues to put forth the effort that he's shown. This hasn't been about work ethic. I need to make that abundantly clear. It's not about his work ethic. But at some point that work needs to translate, and as evidence of that, we made the decision to go with [Travis] Shaw at third base."
Sandoval's agent Rick Thurman was critical of the decision the Red Sox made, telling MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, "If you want to win, why leave the Ferrari in the garage?"
Sandoval continues to express a team-first attitude.
"That's my agent's comments," Sandoval said. "That didn't come from me. My agent can say whatever he wants. I'm going to be ready and keep working hard to do the things the team needs. That's what I'm going to do."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.