SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Kung Fu Panda is back with the San Francisco Giants.
Popular third baseman Pablo Sandoval agreed to a minor league contact with the Giants and would get a $2 million, one-year deal if added to the 40-man roster.
The 2012 World Series MVP, who pondered the idea last summer that his time with San Francisco could be over, would have the chance to earn $750,000 in performance bonuses.
The 33-year-old Venezuelan is working back from season-ending Tommy John reconstructive surgery on his right elbow in early September. Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles determined Sandoval needed the procedure on his ulnar collateral ligament, and Sandoval has said he is determined to come back even stronger in 2020.
The progress and health status of the switch-hitter will be more clear come spring training next month. Pitchers and catchers report to Scottsdale Stadium in Arizona on Feb. 11.
New manager Gabe Kapler is counting on Sandoval’s veteran presence.
“Pablo brings a wealth of experience, a lot of energy and consistent positivity,” Kapler said. “That mentality from a veteran player really helps set the tone for a clubhouse. I’m excited for the impact he’ll have. On the field, he’s a dangerous bat, and he was always one we planned carefully around when I was with Philly.”
Sandoval made a comeback with the Giants in 2017 after his release by the Red Sox, and he was used in various roles by now-retired manager Bruce Bochy. Sandoval batted .268 with 14 homers and 41 RBIs in 108 games.
Sandoval considers Bochy a father figure and was emotional when the two spent their final stretch together late last season.
“Great to have Pablo back on board,” Bochy said in a text message. “Know he’s been working hard on his rehab and wanted to come back to the Giants.”
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