On comeback trail, Sandoval's shoulder OK

On comeback trail, Sandoval's shoulder OK

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Each day, Pablo Sandoval's surgically repaired left shoulder feels a little stronger.

Playing for the second consecutive day for the first time this spring, Sandoval roped two hits in Tuesday's 5-4 loss to the Yankees, including an RBI double in which he went the other way to left-center.

Sandoval also took a nice pass at the ball from the right side and flew out to center to cap a 2-for-3 day.

Sandoval on his 2-for-3 day

"Good, I feel good," said Sandoval. "No problem with the shoulder, so I feel good. Especially when you're coming back from a long surgery, just getting back out there is exciting."

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Though manager John Farrell hasn't said yet that Sandoval will be his starting third baseman, all signs point to that, particularly the way the roster is constructed.

Brock Holt is Sandoval's main competition at the hot corner, but he is more valuable to the team as a utility player.

"Yeah, he stayed on a couple of fastballs out over the plate," Farrell said of Sandoval. "He's got the ability to hit the ball to all fields as we saw today. Equal to the two line drives from the left side, I thought it was a good, aggressive swing from the right side of the plate. He just looks more aggressive and more free. And more than anything, he looks and feels more confident just by the way he's going about not just the at-bats, but the overall game."

Sandoval took just six at-bats last season before undergoing left labral surgery.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.