ATLANTA (AP) — Boston Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval was benched by manager John Farrell for Thursday night’s game against Atlanta after using his Instagram account during a loss to the Braves.
Boston is last in the AL East at 28-39 and has lost eight of its last nine games.
“The clubhouse is not run amok,” manager John Farrell said. “This is an incident I believe is isolated. My focus is to get better on the field every day.”
Farrell said the Red Sox will not fine or suspend Sandoval. The manager was not sure whether Major League Baseball will discipline the 2012 World Series MVP.
After Boston ended the 2011 season with 20 losses in its last 27 games, there were reports of starting pitchers drinking beer and eating fried chicken in the clubhouse during games in which they weren’t scheduled to pitch instead of staying on the bench to support their teammates.
Bobby Valentine replaced manager Terry Francona after the season, but was let go after a last-place finish. Farrell was hired and managed the Red Sox to the 2013 World Series title.
Sandoval said he had returned to the clubhouse to use the bathroom during Wednesday night’s 5-2 defeat and checked his phone.
“First time,” he said. “I take the mistake, I learn from it. I broke the team rules.”
Major League Baseball prohibits players from using electronic equipment during the period starting 30 minutes before a game and ending with the game’s conclusion.
A two-time All-Star who left World Series champion San Francisco to sign a $95 million, five-year deal with Boston, Sandoval said he apologized to Farrell, general manager Ben Cherington and teammates.
“It is disappointing because it is a rule that is known by all,” Farrell said. “It is not tolerable. Any social media is not permissible during a game. There is a time of the day where phones are shut off and you pay attention to the game at hand. When actions run counter to that, there are consequences to be had.”
Sandoval, hitting .452 during an eight-game hitting streak, was replaced in the starting lineup by rookie Travis Shaw.
“It’s the wrong thing,” Sandoval said. “My team is down. Ain’t going to happen no more.”
Notes: Boston recalled Shaw from Triple-A Pawtucket and placed right-handed reliever Heath Hembree on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder inflammation. Shaw was hitting .259 in 58 games at Pawtucket, splitting time between first base and third base. Hembree had an 8.53 ERA in four relief appearances for Boston this season.