Red Sox could get Panda back by Monday

Club, rehabbing third baseman to go over plan at Fenway on Sunday

Red Sox could get Panda back by Monday

BOSTON -- Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval is in the home stretch of his recovery from a sprained right knee, and there's a chance he could return for the opener of Monday's 10-game road trip in Chicago against the White Sox.

"I wouldn't rule it out, but until we get through today, get a chance to work tomorrow before the game, then we'll have a chance to sit down and talk to him at that point," said Red Sox manager John Farrell.

Sandoval played nine innings for Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday, and he was scheduled to do so again on Saturday.

He will report to Fenway Park on Sunday for a scheduled "work day," and the Red Sox and the third baseman will huddle at that point and decide the best option going forward.

Sandoval went on the disabled list on April 25.

Third base has been a challenge all year for the Red Sox. Marco Hernandez is out for the season with a left shoulder subluxation, and Brock Holt is out indefinitely as he deals with vertigo. Josh Rutledge had defensive struggles when he was given the chance to start at third.

Of late, Deven Marrero has done a solid job on defense. Though Marrero is hitting .188, he has started some rallies on this homestand and belted a home run in Thursday's 6-2 win over the Rangers.

Marrero's two-run homer

"It's been stabilizing, in a word," Farrell said of Marrero. "He's been everything we could have hoped from the defensive side. I think our games have been cleaner. When plays are supposed to be made and they are, it allows the game to flow at its natural pace.

"Offensively, we all know what the batting average says, but even some at-bats -- as I mentioned last night -- there's deep counts, there's competitive at-bats. If he's tacking six, seven pitches onto an opposing starting pitcher's allotment, that's a quality at-bat."

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