Baltimore starter Ubaldo Jimenez was ejected after 3 2/3 hitless innings after hitting Pablo Sandoval. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
If there’s one thing we know about Pablo Sandoval after the first 10 games of the season is he takes his base running very seriously.
The 5-foot-11, 255-pound third baseman isn’t afraid to go hard into second base and break up a potential double play.
Sandoval has done it on a few occasions early on this year and did it again Friday night in the second inning, taking out Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop, allowing Mike Napoli to reach first base.
The next time Sandoval stepped to the plate, with Baltimore starter Ubaldo Jimenez not allowing a hit through 3 2/3 innings, he plunked Sandoval in the back of the shoulder. Home plate umpire Jordan Baker immediately ejected Jimenez, as he felt it was intentional.
Many of the Red Sox players didn’t feel like Jimenez deserved to be ejected, including Sandoval.
“It’s part of the game,” Sandoval said. “Just part of the game. Part of the game. Play hard.”
As for his slide into second base?
“It’s a game. Good clean slide,” Sandoval said. “I was sliding through the base. Nothing wrong with.”
Manager John Farrell thought it was a quick ejection as no warnings were issued prior to Sandoval being hit.
‘Honestly, yeah. A little surprised,” Farrell said. “Because I didn’t see anything that would have warranted a hit by pitch. But, obviously, Jordan felt like there was clear intent. And whether or not he felt because it was the hard slide at second base, that I don’t know. It was quick.’
The Red Sox take pride in their base running, and Sandoval isn’t the only member of the team who has been know to go into second base hard this year. Farrell said it was a good, clean slide.
‘Pablo, he’s a strong baserunner,” he said. “It was good, clean, hard slide to break up a double play. Apparently after the hit by pitch in the next at-bat, Jordan felt like there was intent, obviously, for the ejection. But that was a good, clean, hard slide.’
Mike Napoli, another Red Sox player who always goes into second base hard, agreed with Farrell that Sandoval was just going into second base hard to break up the double play without any intent to harm.
He referred to it as a “sacrifice for the team.”
“You always play the game hard,” Napoli said. “I didn’t see anything wrong with it. Just breaking up a double play. Play the game hard. I don’t know if that has anything to do with why he was hit. Go hard every time. Try not to hurt a guy, but you try and break up a double play and sacrifice for the team. Go in hard. That is how we play over here.”
There was one Red Sox player who felt a little different, as catcher Ryan Hanigan noted the pitch that hit Sandoval was up by his head, and he thought that may have been the reason for the ejection.
He also noted how the play gave the Red Sox momentum, as they didn’t have a hit until two batters after the ejection when Xander Bogaerts singled off reliever Kevin Gausman and then Hanigan took him deep to tie the game at two at the time.
“Umpires discretion, man,” Hanigan said. “I’ll tell you what, to hit him up high close to the head, that’s no good. Hey, kind of flipped the momentum for us. We went on a roll there, scored a couple like I said, and put them away.”