Sandoval out to 'shut mouths' of doubters

Sandoval out to 'shut mouths' of doubters
February 14, 2012, 7:35 pm
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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.

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