Questions about Pablo Sandoval’s weight have come up again … and againv… and again … and again.
Now the Giants’ third baseman is facing another round of criticism after an unflattering photo of him taking grounders hit Twitter on Saturday.
While Bay Area fans may be worried about Sandoval’s conditioning, Giants manager Gabe Kapler is unconcerned and believes the “Kung Fu Panda” will be a productive player during the shortened 2020 MLB season.
“Pablo’s role on this team is to do what he has done over the course of the last couple days, and what he has done for this city and this community in the past, and that is to bring positive energy, get big hits, drive the baseball, and those are still the things we believe he is capable of doing,” Kapler said (via The Associated Press).
“Already in this short period of time he’s demonstrated it. I have a lot of empathy for Pablo and what it must be like to be dealing with this kind of scrutiny, and I wouldn’t wish it on anybody.”
Sandoval, who is listed at 5-foot-10 and 268 pounds on San Francisco’s official roster, underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery in September but is fully recovered after the long delay due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). He did show there was a little pop left in his bat last year, hitting .268 with 14 home runs, 23 doubles and 41 RBIs.
Regardless of how he looks, Kapler fully expects Sandoval to be a valuable contributor for the Giants. Kapler has seen the ball “jumping off his bat,” which could mean a few appearances as a designated hitter.
“He’s demonstrated that he’s healthy, and that’s the most important thing,” Kapler said. “He’s not going to bat leadoff for us. The expectation with Pablo Sandoval is he slugs. He drives the baseball. He’s a good DH candidate for us. He’s got nice soft hands, and all of those things are present in camp and those are the things that we’re going to be focusing on.”
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