April 15, 2024

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Pablo Sandoval's Giants Return Is Explained by Hilarious Farhan Al-Zaidi – NBC Sports Bay Area and California

Pablo Sandoval's Giants Return Is Explained by Hilarious Farhan Al-Zaidi – NBC Sports Bay Area and California

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – As Pablo Sandoval prepared for his unexpected comeback last month, he blew up phones throughout the Giants organization. The man who ultimately made the decision to place Sandoval on the spring roster was no exception.

When asked why the Giants added the 37-year-old to their non-roster invitees, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi offered a humorous response in a text message sent to beat writers.

Al-Zaidi said: “We had to sign Pablo because the training videos he was sending me were taking up all the space on my phone.”

Sandoval may truly be in the best shape of his life, and to say the least, he's been downsized significantly compared to most of his previous 1,149 games with the Giants. He moves well and feels good about his swing, and when he met with reporters before the first full-squad practice on Monday, he said this isn't a gimmick.

Sandoval hopes to make the team, or at least set himself up for another run somewhere in Major League Baseball. He knows it's a long shot, but his message to head coach Bob Melvin was basically: “Never tell me the odds.”

“He doesn't want to hear anything about his chances,” Melvin said. “He's going to go out there and he's going to make plays and he's going to try to force us.”

The Giants plan to get Sandoval reps at the corners this spring and he spent most of his day Monday backing up J.D. Davis at third base. Among the players, Sandoval shared a laugh with midfielder Marco Luciano, but also offered some advice. The Giants hope he can be a mentor to young Spanish-speakers, and fellow Venezuelan Luis Matos said he has received excited text messages from Sandoval in recent weeks.

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Against all odds, Sandoval is the last one remaining from the 2014 lineup just months before the Giants plan to honor the title team. Having him at camp means a few other little things, too.

Alex Cobb was happy to learn he was no longer the oldest player in camp. Austin Slater ended up being the longest-reigning Giant in less than a week, a title he inherited from Brandon Crawford.

“It was a good ride,” he said with a smile.

Cobb and Slater are two locks on the roster during the season. There are no guarantees for Sandoval, but he is taking this opportunity seriously and the Giants were fine incorporating him right away. Melvin, who has managed three other organizations since he first faced Sandoval while with the Arizona Diamondbacks, said he was all for it when Zaidi approached him with the possibility.

“He's had a huge impact on this team over the years,” Melvin said. “He's got an infectious personality, he's experienced, he's motivated, and I think there's a lot that can influence some of the younger players as well.”

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