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.

Giants use big fifth, sixth innings to take down Cubs

Giants use big fifth, sixth innings to take down Cubs

BOX SCORE

At Scottsdale, Arizona, Giants starter Matt Cain gave up two runs — one earned — and three hits over two innings.

New Giants closer Mark Melancon tossed a 1-2-3 third inning in his first outing. Cain threw 40 pitches and Justin Ruggiano had an RBI double in a three-run fifth.

Javier Baez went 2 for 3 with an RBI double.

Giants spring training Day 13: Cain goes two; Melancon has perfect debut

Giants spring training Day 13: Cain goes two; Melancon has perfect debut

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Bruce Bochy planned to give most of his pitchers one-inning stints during the first weekend of spring ball, but Matt Cain stretched it out to 40 pitches on Saturday. 

“I’ve had enough days off the past couple of years,” Cain said, smiling.

In his first start of a crucial spring, Cain threw two innings. He was charged with three hits and two runs, just one of them earned. 

“He’s in a good place right now with his arm strength,” Bochy said. “His delivery is consistent. I’m glad he got a lot of work today, to be honest. It’s something he needs as much as anybody on this staff, is work. He’s going to get it.”

Ty Blach, Cain’s biggest competition for the fifth starter spot, gave up four hits and one earned in his two innings. Neither pitcher was hit particularly hard, and both suffered a bit from iffy defense in the early innings of an 8-6 win over the Cubs. 

The inning separating Cain and Blach was notable for other reasons. Mark Melancon made his Giants debut, getting two groundouts and a fly to right in a quick inning. Melancon received a nice ovation, and he noted the opponent — a Cubs team that helped guarantee the Giants would spend big on a closer — but he didn’t put any added importance on the outing. 

“It doesn’t matter what I do out there right now,” he said. 

Melancon’s new teammates might disagree. Spring or not, the Giants certainly enjoyed watching a closer breeze through his inning. Especially against the Cubs. 

“He’s a pro,” Bochy said. “He’s going to be out there working on stuff, his command and pitches. It was good for Buster (Posey) to catch him. It was a good day for him.”

NOTABLE: On his first swing of the spring, Posey threw his bat up against the visiting dugout. It can only go uphill from there … Bryan Morris had a scoreless debut, striking out one … Josh Osich ran into some trouble in the eighth and gave up a pair of runs, but Bochy appreciated the way he fought his way out of the frame … Former Giants prospect Chris Dominguez started for the Cubs at first base. He had a couple of hits ... If you're headed to Goodyear for tomorrow's game, Joe Panik, Brandon Belt, Conor Gillaspie, Jimmy Rollins, Mac Williamson, Jarrett Parker, Gorkys Hernandez and Trevor Brown will start behind Matt Moore. Also, if you're headed to Goodyear, I'm sorry. 

TRAINER’S ROOM: Eduardo Nuñez is limited to DH duty for now because of a sore throwing shoulder. Nuñez said the tightness popped up after some work in the weight room, but he’s not concerned at all. He said he would have played third base if Saturday’s game was a regular season contest. The Giants expect him in the field sometime next week. 

Nuñez also said it took five weeks after the season ended for his hamstring to get back to 100 percent, so apparently that injury was much worse than it first looked. Nuñez was out on the field before every NLDS game, trying to get clearance to return. He never quite got there. 

Will Smith (elbow) is just a day or two from throwing off flat ground, Bochy said. 

CUETO UPDATE: The Giants had hoped to have Johnny Cueto in camp this weekend, but he remains in Boca Chica, Dominican Republic. Cueto is waiting for a visa for his ill father, Domingo, who will travel to Scottsdale with Johnny. 

LIGHTER SIDE: Brandon Crawford spent a couple of minutes learning some of Jeff Samardzija’s mound moves. The impersonation is pretty solid.