According to Red Sox Skipper John Farrell, Pablo Sandoval tweaked his back after diving for a ball on his backhand side in Tuesday's 3-0 loss to the Miami Marlins. Fortunately (or unfortunately), John Farrell also revealed that he does not expect Sandoval to start the season on the disabled list.
While it is unclear whether or not this will impact Sandoval's competition to crack the Opening Day lineup ahead of Travis Shaw, there is no denying that Shaw will now have an opportunity to make his case. The 25-year-old is batting .450 with two home runs and nine RBIs in 14 games and playing stellar defense.
On the flip side, Sandoval is batting .265 with two home runs and six RBIs, while making a plethora of errors on the hot corner. There is no denying that this healthy competition is making Sandoval a better, more motivated player, but Shaw is younger, in better physical position, and may have more upside. Dave Dombrowski said it best when he revealed that money should not dictate who gets more playing time.
This healthy competition is just what the Red Sox need as it is vital for them to have a bounce-back year.