Sandoval out to 'shut mouths' of doubters

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Sandoval out to 'shut mouths' of doubters

Pablo Sandoval's weight has been an issue in San Francisco since the jovial switch-hitter burst onto the scene with 25 home runs in 2009. After three years of debate, Sandoval could be tiring of weight-related questions.

"I don't care what people say about me," Sandoval told liderendeportes.com in an interview Sunday. "I am going to shut their mouths when Spring Training begins. By that date, I should be in good form."

Last offseason, the team introduced "Operation Panda," the strength and conditioning program designed specifically for Sandoval. It was a success, as the Giants introduced "the new Pablo Sandoval" at 2011 media day, slimmed down by some 30-plus pounds.

Sandoval appeared to put on weight over the course of the 162-game season, and this offseason, the focus again returned to shedding pounds.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy traveled with Sandoval to Taiwan as part of the five-game MLB exhibition tour -- the 2011 Taiwan All-Star Series -- Nov. 1-6.

After the USA team went 5-0, Bochy said he mentioned to Sandoval that he thought the slugger looked a little bit bigger than when the season concluded. Sandoval assured Bochy that he was around the same weight as when the season finished, citing his uniform as a potential reason for the big look.

Sandoval's stance Sunday took a more aggressive tone.

"Just because of seven pounds, they say I am fat?" Sandoval asked the Spanish language website. "Seven pounds are nothing. But people like to talk. I don't pay attention to those things. I am confident that I will do what I can on the field and always reach my goals."

"I'd like to see what the people who are talking about me say when they seem me in perfect physical condition. I don't have any fat on my body. The truth is, I've gained more muscle mass."

Sandoval's reaction comes nine days after Giants media day, at which Bochy voiced his opinion that Sandoval has "got a few pounds to work out before Spring Training." The manager conceded that Sandoval looked "better at media day than when Bochy saw him two weeks" prior in Arizona.

Sandoval, 25, hit .315 with 23 home runs and 70 RBIs in his first All-Star season, despite being limited to 117 games after a broken wrist and an end-of-the-season shoulder injury that kept him from batting right-handed.

Sandoval, who also had LASIK eye surgery in November, will look for a healthy year in his first season of the three-year, 17.15 million contract he signed in January.

With the new contract, Sandoval will be counted on -- along with Buster Posey, Aubrey Huff and newly-acquired Melky Cabrera -- to provide the Giants lineup with pop, something he's shown he can do with or without the extra pounds.

Nate Stuhlbarg is a web producer withCSNBayArea.com. Follow him on Twitter @StuhlbargCSN.

Top pick Heliot Ramos visits AT&T Park, will start Giants career this weekend

Top pick Heliot Ramos visits AT&T Park, will start Giants career this weekend

SAN FRANCISCO — As he was wrapping up the first press conference of his career, Heliot Ramos was asked when he expects to be back at AT&T Park as a player. The 17-year-old smiled and said he hopes to debut in three years. 

“I know it’s hard, but that’s my dream,” Ramos continued. “I know I’ve got to work hard for that.”

A half-dozen Giants officials stood a few feet away, smiling. Three years would be incredibly impressive. It took Christian Arroyo and Ryder Jones four years after being drafted out of high school to reach the big leagues. Buster Posey got a cup of coffee a year after he was drafted, but he was already 22 years old because he had played three years at Florida State. 

Ramos doesn’t turn 18 until September. The Giants hope he is dominating A-ball in three years, and yet, he’s the the kind of prospect that allows them to dream for so much more. 

“If he grew up in Southern California (instead of Puerto Rico) we never would have had a shot at drafting him,” one team official said Tuesday.

Ramos certainly opened eyes in his second trip to AT&T Park, but then again, he put on a display the first time, too. The Giants brought him in for a pre-draft workout and someone pointed out to Ramos that the deepest part of the park was 421 feet. The right-handed hitter, making the transition to a wood bat, wasn’t bothered by the dimensions. He took aim at Triples Alley and tried to blast one out, and he nearly did. Then he started pulling the ball, peppering the left field bleachers with homers and convincing the front office that he was the right pick at No. 19 in this month’s draft. Ramos, described as a potential five-tool center fielder, said he enjoys hitting here.

“It’s a park with a lot of history, and I like that,” he said. 

The clock on his career starts this weekend. Ramos will travel back to Arizona and play in a rookie league game Friday or Saturday. It is always a slow progression for a high school draft pick, but the Giants believe Ramos is physically mature enough to jump right in with both feet. 

Ramos, who said his favorite player is Andrew McCutchen, is listed at 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds and he carries it well. One member of the front office compared his body type to Yasiel Puig as a rookie; another called him a “mini-Cespedes.” Bruce Bochy lit up when asked about the physicality of the organization’s latest top pick. 

“Any time you get a young kid like this, the ceiling is so high,” he said. “That excites you.”

Bochy spent some time with Ramos and his family after batting practice. As they posed for photos, the manager looked out at the field and then turned to a PR representative.

“Can he take BP? Put him in the last group,” Bochy said, smiling. “I’ll put him in the lineup tomorrow.”

Ramos didn’t end up taking swings, but if all goes according to his plan, it won’t be long.

Giants lineup: After nine-run outburst on Monday, Bochy makes no changes

Giants lineup: After nine-run outburst on Monday, Bochy makes no changes

Bud Black and Bruce Bochy issued their lineups for Game 2 of their series at AT&T Park:

Rockies (47-32) 
1. Charlie Blackmon (L) CF
2. DJ LeMahieu (R) 2B
3. Nolan Arenado (R) 3B
4. Mark Reynolds (R) 1B
5. Ian Desmond (R) LF
6. Alexi Amarista (L) RF
7. Trevor Story (R) SS
8. Tony Wolters (L) C
9. Jeff Hoffman (R) P

Giants (28-51)
1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Joe Panik (L) 2B
3. Hunter Pence (R) RF
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
6. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
7. Ryder Jones (L) 3B
8. Gorkys Hernandez (R) LF
9. Matt Cain (R) P (3-7, 5.54 ERA)