"It's pretty exciting," said Danny Sandoval with a shy sort of smile. "I'm just going to try to do what I did at Scranton and help where I can."
That's basically what Sandoval has done throughout his entire career. He spent six seasons in the White Sox organization, playing just two games at the AAA level in 2000 and then sliding back to A and AA baseball. After seemingly wearing out his welcome, he spent a season at AA for the Rockies before becoming a minor league free agent.
One of the things that drew Sandoval to the Phillies was that he would, in all likelyhood, being playing at AAA Scranton and not heading to AA. "They (the Phillies) told me that they thought I would be at AAA and they brought me into major league camp," explained Sandoval. "They've treated me pretty well right from the start."
The decision paid off. Sandoval became a big part of the Scranton roster and was hitting .349 when he got the call to replace Geoff Geary at the major league level. "I was a bit surprised. I thought they might take another pitcher," confessed Sandoval.
The fact that Sandoval can play a number of infield positions is a definite plus. He could easily be fighting for a spot on the roster permanently during his stint with the Phillies. The bad news is that the stint could be a short one. It's likely that Sandoval will return to Scranton when either Geary or Jim Thome come off the DL. Nobody is sure how long either will be out of action - the Phillies had thought Geary would be okay by now - but it could be as soon as a few days or a couple weeks.
Down the road, Sandoval could step in if the Phillies decide to move one of their infielders elsewhere. Tomas Perez and Ramon Martinez are both respected pinch-hitting utility player types and could be included in a deal. David Bell is the subject of constant rumors and his balky back will keep him as somewhat of a question mark for the rest of his career.
Could Sandoval be an every day player? It's not likely, although Sandoval can play at third base. Many scouts believe Sandoval's calling will be as a utility infielder, but they believe it's a job that he could handle well. If Bell were to completely brake down, there would be a battle for the job on a temporary basis among Perez, Martinez, Sandoval and perhaps Chris Coste, who has played the majority of third base at Scranton.
"That's all stuff for another day," said Sandoval. "I believe that I can play in the majors and I'm ready for whatever happens now and down the road."