BOSTON -- For the next couple of weeks, the Red Sox will not be faced with the challenge of finding playing time for Pablo Sandoval. A left shoulder strain forced the third baseman to the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Monday, before Wednesday's 4-2 win over the Orioles.
Sandoval, who lost his starting job to Travis Shaw late in Spring Training, made just one start in the Red Sox's first seven games. He is 0-for-6 with four strikeouts in seven plate appearances.
"I woke up this morning with soreness, so something happened," Sandoval said. "We'll see what was going on later on, when the doctor gets here. I had this injury before, in 2011, but that was swinging a bat during the game. I don't know what happened right now."
"To give you an exact moment when it took place, I don't have that, to be honest," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "He's been hitting a lot extra before [batting practice] and during the game and in the cage. He's got very limited range of motion. That was revealed after he went through a battery of tests with the medical staff. He's unavailable."
To take Sandoval's spot on the roster, the Red Sox recalled utility infielder Josh Rutledge from Triple-A Pawtucket.
After signing a five-year, $95 million contract to come to Boston, Sandoval had the worst season of his career in 2015. The club was concerned about Sandoval's range throughout Spring Training, and Shaw had a terrific camp.
Despite the tough situation, Sandoval continues to keep a positive attitude.
"I signed here for five years, so I'm here," Sandoval said. "I'm going to be here; I love being here. I love my teammates, I love the fan support. Where am I going to go?
"Why am I going to be sad? Give me one reason to be sad, be mad. Why? Give me one reason. I'm alive. I have daughters, one son coming, so nothing to worry about."
Knowing how things can change over the course of a long season, the Red Sox want to do all they can do to help Sandoval be ready if he ends up getting a chance to play more.
One thing Sandoval will continue to focus on is getting in better shape.
"He's working very diligently on that -- he has my full support," said Farrell. "Every player has needs. Panda's are outlined. There's a specific plan to address those, and we'll support him through it."
Sandoval was also involved in an embarrassing blooper-reel moment in Toronto on Saturday, when his belt broke during a swing and miss.
"It's been a real tough start; he's been an easy target," said Farrell. "I've had a chance to sit and talk with him about that specifically. First and foremost, we've got to get him right physically to get past the shoulder issue. If a breather gives him a chance to maybe step away from the scrutiny that he's under, we'll make every effort to have that take place.
"But I still firmly believe that Panda is going to be a contributor to this team. We're going to need him to be, because there's a darn good player in there. We've got to continue to work to get that out."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.