Ratto: Sandoval turns Media Day into festival of good feelings

Ratto: Sandoval turns Media Day into festival of good feelings
February 4, 2011, 11:27 pm
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Feb. 4, 2011RATTO ARCHIVEGIANTS PAGE GIANTS VIDEO
Ray RattoCSNBayArea.com

There could have been something inherently creepy about staring at Pablo Sandovals stomach to see if he is going to re-take his job as the Giants third baseman.Instead, Sandoval turned his press conference Friday into a festival of good feelings, weird history, promise, shame and televised vomit.The one thing he did not do is tell America how much weight he has lost, which ultimately is a trivia question when juxtaposed with how much better a hitter he plans to be.But heres what he did do:- Admit he realized he had a profound career problem during the postseason, before the Giants gave him their be one-sixth less large or learn to love Fresno ultimatum.- Say he has spoken several times about hitting to Barry Bonds, and worked regularly with Bonds personal trainer, Greg Sweets Oliver, which must have caused the Giants their own collective bout of indigestion. RELATED: Giants' Sandoval working with Bonds
- Say he has hired a full-time chef to help him mind his diet this coming season.- Spoke of his thrice-weekly workout regimen with former U.S. Olympic decathlete Dan OBrien, which involved regular track and field work, 400 meters, a mile, like that and long hikes and runs up the desert hills in and around Phoenix.- Say he didnt pick up a bat for two months while he was concentrating on losing weight and improving his stamina.- Oh, and he did share his first cameo for the Showtime documentary. I was running up the (Arizona State University) hill, and I threw up. Oh, yeah, they got that. I threw up a lot of times.Hurray, television!For the most part, Sandoval shouldered his share of the blame for losing his job as the Giants starting third baseman down the stretch and in the postseason. He said, I dont think it was my weight that explained his offensive and defensive plummet, but he did acknowledge it prevented him from working out as much as he had the year before, when he established himself as one of the teams best hitters.And he said he didnt mind being given the come-to-Jesus lecture by general manager Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy after the World Series.I knew in the postseason already I had to change my body, I had to change my mind, he said. I have to think like a pro now. For all the things that happened with me in the postseason, I say thank you to the Giants because they made me grow up in that situation.Of course, there will still be weight jokes, at least until Feb. 19, when he said he would say how much weight he has lost. But there will also be snark related to his contact with Bonds and his personal trainer, which Sandoval seems not to mind. He needed hitting and fitness help, and clearly he felt Bonds and Oliver were excellent options.Ive talked with Barry a couple of times, he said. He talked to me about looking for a pitch I want to hit, looking for a pitch I can catch with my hands, just to (mentally) take a punch at the pitch I want to hit.He also said Oliver helped with running and pool work on Thursdays and Fridays, and with OBrien another three days a week, though his work now will be focused more on maintenance. I dont want to have to work so hard like that again, he said, an indication that he never wants to have to work so hard just to get back into workable shape. Now its up to me to keep to the workouts.Through it all, he seemed chastened by his 2010 but not so ashamed that he isnt devoted to making a 2011 that looks a lot more like 2009. And in doing so, he cleared his mind so much that he did not pick up a bat for two months because I had to relax my mind from baseball, by his admission the longest time he has ever gone without doing so.In fact, he said the first time he picked up a bat was at a home run derby contest in Venezuela three weeks ago, in which he finished third behind former Giant Eliezer Alfonzo. When I started it, the bat felt light. I feel like everything is fresh.Perhaps it is. If nothing else, Pablo Sandoval is now working on his third incarnation. He was the best Sandoval he could be in 2009, the worst Sandoval he could be in 2010, and now . . .It feels great, especially when you work out hard lifting the way Ive been lifting, you see the difference, you feel the difference when you hit the ball. I feel like Im using Andres Torres body right now.Lets hope for Torres sake he is at least paying rent.