Giants part ways again with third baseman Pablo Sandoval

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The San Francisco Giants released Pablo Sandoval on Thursday, parting ways for a second time with the former fan favorite and 2012 World Series MVP.

Sandoval ends a second stint with the club after he rejoined the Giants following parts of three seasons away with the Boston Red Sox after winning a third World Series in five years with the Giants in 2014.

“Such an incredible contributor to the organization, his teammates, the coaching staff, and the entire city of San Francisco,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “It was very difficult to deliver that news and for Pablo to receive it. He was a pro and a gentleman, every step of the way.”

The Giants posted a thank you to the Kung Fu Panda on their Twitter page. A switch-hitter, the 34-year-old Sandoval was batting .220 with one home run and six RBIs in 33 games. He had a prorated salary of $740,741.

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Sandoval came back this spring from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow last September, after retired manager Bruce Bochy — a father figure to the Venezuelan slugger — gave him one final at-bat. But Sandoval arrived at summer training in July noticeably heavier. He recently shared how his wife and children healed from the coronavirus, and Kapler gave him time off to monitor the situation from afar.

Sandoval hit three home runs in Game 1 of a World Series sweep against the Detroit Tigers in 2012.

Newly acquired infielder Justin Smoak was added to the major league roster.

The Giants also released Hunter Pence last month after he returned for a second tenure with the Giants — so that is two veteran leaders now gone in a short span.

“It still matters a lot. Pablo was very influential in the cage, clubhouse and around the batting cage. Veteran presences are important, even in a time of COVID and the 2020 season,” Kapler said. “I think they are always important. Justin Smoak can come in and be influential as well. He’s a veteran player, he’s seen a lot of pitchers from both sides of the plate.”

In addition, left-hander Drew Smyly was activated from the 10-day injured list ahead of the series opener at San Diego after dealing with a sprained index finger on his pitching hand. Right-hander Rico Garcia was optioned to the team’s Sacramento alternate site.

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AP Freelance Writer Jay Paris contributed to this report.

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