Jerry Sands assigned to Giants’ Triple-A team

Published 9:03 pm Saturday, March 24, 2018

Staff report

SAN FRANCISCO — Jerry Sands was assigned on Friday to the Sacramento River Cats, the San Francisco Giants’ Triple-A team.

Sands, in his 11th season of professional baseball since being drafted after his junior year at Catawba, had a productive spring training camp for the Giants — hitting .333 with two homers and seven RBI in 11 games. He had a walk-off single in the Giants’ 4-3 win over the Chicago Cubs on Thursday night.

In his first game with the River Cats Saturday night, Sands belted a two-run homer as Sacramento hosted the parent-club Giants in an exhibition game. Sands’ blast gave the River Cats a 5-4 lead and they went on to win, 6-5.

Sands, 30, of Clayton, N.C., left Catawba after hitting a school-record 61 career home runs. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 25th round of the 2008 MLB Draft.

After several good years in the minor leagues, including 2010, when he hit 35 homers between Great Lakes (A) and Chattanooga (AA), Sands made his major league debut for the Dodgers in April 2011 against the Atlanta Braves. In that first game, Sands doubled off of the Braves’ Tim Hudson.

Despite playing in 156 major league games between 2011 and 2016, Sands has not quite been able to stay at the top level of pro baseball. He has a .238 average, 10 homers and 57 RBI in the big leagues with four different teams — Dodgers, Rays, Indians and White Sox — but has been back and forth between the minors and MLB.

Sands’ assignment on Friday is part of his latest attempt at the majors. He played the second half of the 2016 for the Charlotte Knights, the White Sox’ Triple-A club. After that season, Sands elected free agency from the White Sox, but ended up playing in an independent league for the first part of 2017.

Sands hit .319 with 13 homers in 39 games for the Atlantic League’s Somerset Patriots last year before San Francisco signed him on June 3. He was assigned to Double-A Richmond, where Sands played the remainder of the season, hitting .298 with five homers and 28 RBI.

For his minor league career, Sands has played in 836 games over 10 seasons, hitting .276, with 164 homers and 563 runs batted in. His on-base and slugging percentages over that span are .367 and .509, respectively.

At Catawba (2006-2008), in addition to the home run record, Sands still holds school records for walks in a season (56) and career (132, in 173 games). Sands’ 205 career RBI rank third all-time at Catawba and his .381 batting average stands as the ninth best.

In the offseason, Sands resides near Raleigh, with his wife, Morgan, and their two sons.