Sandoval started this year with the major league club in Spring Training and this year was supposed to be different from the nine years before it. Ultimately, it wasn't. And Sandoval started this season, the same way he had started so many before it: on a minor league roster.
If it was any consolation, Sandoval was one of the final cuts of the spring for the Phils and was assigned to the team's Triple-A affiliate in Scranton. Sandoval was at least a little let down over not making the roster out of camp in March, but used this to motivate him.
"I wasn't real happy. I mean out of Spring Training I was there working out with the major league team and I expected to make that team. I was getting all my opportunities to make that team," said the shortstop.
Sandoval didn't put up eye-popping numbers during his almost four months at the minors' highest level, managing only a .255 average. Despite his modest average, Sandoval received the call he waited his whole life for on July 29, one day after David Bell was traded to Milwaukee. Sandoval credits his persistence and his work ethic for allowing him to not lose hope after all those years of toiling in the minors. "I just have to be patient in my work, and really that's what you have to do in whatever you do. If you do, it'll repay you big time," said Sandoval.
His time in the majors this year was still brief, lasting close to a month, but was Sandoval's biggest exposure so far. When the time came for him to be sent back to the minors again, the team assigned him to Double-A Reading, instead of simply putting back at Scranton where he was recalled from. Sandoval said he didn't take that move as hard because the organization had explained to him the reasons behind their decision, a fact the infielder gratefully acknowledges.
"You like it when people tell you the truth and the Phillies have always been honest with me. They're experienced. They know how these things work," said Sandoval.
He said the organization explained to him that he would only be with the R-Phils for the final week of their season and then be brought back to the major league roster for the season's final month. It also gave him a chance to fine tune his swing for the season's stretch drive.
"This is a chance for me to get at-bats, which I like. I'm not the kind of guy who likes to be somewhere and sit on the bench. I want to play and I want to contribute, somewhere," Sandoval said before a recent game on the season's final weekend in Trenton.
Sandoval has worked hard to get his shot at the majors, but the test will come in whether he has able to stay there.