Maybe a couple days off will do Pablo Sandoval some good.

The slumping third baseman was held out of the Red Sox lineup for Saturday night’s game against the Tigers, even though Detroit was starting right-hander Justin Verlander. Sandoval had been playing against righties while sitting against lefties.

And get this: Sandoval had two homers in seven career at-bats against Verlander.

Josh Rutledge was in at third base, and with the Tigers starting lefty Daniel Norris Sunday, Sandoval was out of the starting lineup again.

Manager John Farrell explained that with Chris Sale on the mound for the Red Sox last night, he wanted a more trusted defender at third base.

“We’re taking the opportunity to continue to work with (Sandoval),” Farrell said. “We know that there’s been some plays that have been a little bit of a struggle for him. With another left-hander on the mound (Saturday night) against a predominantly right-handed hitting lineup, more of a ground-ball pitcher, yeah I guess there’s some strategy involved with that, certainly.”

Since a 3-for-4 game in Baltimore in his first game back from the disabled list, Sandoval is 2 for 23 with eight strikeouts, one walk and one home run. While he’s made the occasional impressive play, it’s fair to say he’s in a defensive slump as well, with his throws causing most of the issues.

“There have been some times when just redirecting his body, if he’s going to his glove side, to get back in line to deliver the ball through the target – that’s taken an added step,” Farrell said.

It’s been 10 days since Eduardo Rodriguez slipped and hurt his right knee in the bullpen before a start, and the Red Sox feel the lefty could get back on the mound soon. Rodriguez played catch from 130-140 feet before Saturday’s game.

“He’s made, I think, very good progress in the days since being examined by Dr. (James) Andrews,” Farrell said. “We’re taking this in five-day work increments. He’s coming up on this first five days. We’ll map out increases in physical activity, agility work, all that, after (Sunday). We would hope in the coming days, he’s back on the mound here soon.”

Rodriguez said he wasn’t given a specific timetable by Andrews, but emphasized that he was told to take his recovery slowly, since he has dislocated the knee several times before.

Carson Smith is inching closer. Saturday the righty reliever faced hitters in competitive at-bats for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery a little over a year ago.

Smith threw 25 pitches to hitters in a session that Farrell described as a “good workday.”

“He’s progressing toward games,” Farrell said. “Once he comes in (Sunday), goes through his normal workday, we’ll get a better sense at that point if it’s an additional ‘sim’ game or more clearly when rehab games are approaching.”