Struggling Sandoval insists weight not a problem
BOSTON (AP) — In the midst of a season-long slump during his first season with the Boston Red Sox, Pablo Sandoval insisted Thursday he weighs the same as he did last season with San Francisco.
The Venezuelan slugger was back in the lineup at third base against the Chicago White Sox on Thursday, a day after he was thrown out trying to score from first base on a ball that rolled to the wall. He exited the game on a hot, humid night with what the team called dehydration.
Sandoval entered Thursday hitting a career-worst .262 with 34 RBIs after leaving the World Series champion Giants to sign a $95 million, five-year deal contract with Boston. The 5-foot-11 (1.8-meter) Sandoval, nicknamed Kung Fu Panda, is listed at 255 pounds (116 kilograms).
“I’m still the same weight that I was last year, the weight that I finished my season,” Sandoval said. “I don’t get complaints about it. Do I have to keep working hard? Yes, I do.”
Manager John Farrell said the team has discussed weight, conditioning and diet with Sandoval, a two-time All-Star who turns 30 next month.
“The one thing we do know is there is a wide range in which (his weight) will fluctuate, and that’s been consistent year to year with Pablo,” Farrell said. “His work ethic in the weight room, his work ethic on the field is consistent. It has been since the first day he got on the field with us here. ... And yet there have been challenges that we’ve become aware of over the course of his career, that you’re trying to align a number of things. That’s the consistency to the work routine as well as the nutritional side of things.”
Farrell acknowledged the Red Sox thought they were getting an average fielder. Instead, Sandoval has had trouble coming up with balls hit near the line. He’s committed 12 errors in 89 games after making 11 errors in 151 games a year ago.
Farrell said they’d like Sandoval to play deeper.
“The closer he is to home plate, the less reaction time. But there’s been some footwork that’s been addressed, particularly in his pre-pitch setup,” Farrell said. “There’s been some detection that his first move is to come up instead of laterally. We’ve sat with him on video and reviewed it, and he continues to work on it in his pregame routine. Yet there’s still times where it does not play out on the field.”
Sandoval shrugged off a question about his conditioning and said he feels comfortable at the plate.
“I don’t care what people say,” Sandoval said, “I feel great.”