The writing was on the wall Wednesday when the Giants signed Justin Smoak, a switch-hitter who is best suited to being a designated hitter right now. After Wednesday night’s game, Pablo Sandoval received bad news.
The Giants released Sandoval on Thursday, the team announced, paving the way for Smoak to join the roster. Smoak and southpaw Drew Smyly were added later in the day with right handed Rico Garcia being picked to open a second place on the roster.
Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported for the first time the news.
The Giants are facing four right-handed pitchers in San Diego and could use a slugger who had 19 homers against left-handers last season, but has struggled so far this year. Even with Smoak’s troubles continuing in Milwaukee, there appears to be at least one small update on Sandoval, who only scored 0.220 in 33 appearances with a homer and a double. The .268 hit rate was the lowest of Sandoval’s career by nearly 100 points.
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Sandoval’s 11-year run in San Francisco is almost certainly over for good this time around. He left for Boston after the 2014 World Series, but returned in 2017 and became a surprise contributor off the bench as he claimed his fan-favorite status. The new staff also fell in love with Sandoval, and manager Gabe Kapler was thrilled to bring him home after meeting him in Miami in the off-season.
Sandoval sent Kapler regular video updates upon his return from Tommy John’s surgery, and the delay in the season allowed him to be ready for opening day. But Sandoval never found his swing and faced problems off the pitch, with his wife and children contracting COVID-19.