SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Kung Fu Panda is a lot less roly poly.
Boston Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Pablo Sandoval has trimmed down after missing nearly the entire 2016 season.
The third baseman appeared to be well over his listed 255 pounds when he reported for spring training in February, and he was limited to three games and seven plate appearances before season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder.
“He did lose a lot of weight. I won’t give you the exact weight. I just don’t believe in doing that,” Dombrowski said Monday as the annual general managers meetings started.
Sandoval helped San Francisco win World Series titles in 2010, ’12 and ’14 but hit .245 with 10 homers and 47 RBIs in his first season with the Red Sox after signing a $95 million, five-year contract in November 2014.
Boston said during spring training it was not concerned about Sandoval’s weight, and principal owner John Henry said Sandoval’s body-fat ratio was 17 percent, down from 21 percent last year.
Sandoval spent much of the season at Boston’s spring training complex in Fort Myers, Florida.
“He was down there working on rehab, then strengthening, took groundballs, throwing, swinging the bat. He’s ready to play in games right now,” Dombrowski said. “I’m going to give him credit: He worked on dietary aspects of his life. … He’s really taken tremendous strides.”
Boston has not decided whether Sandoval will be allowed to play in games this winter.
“He’s actually asked if he could play winter ball. We’re not ready to do that yet with him,” Dombrowski said. “We still think there’s a lot of benefit by him continuing to be in Fort Myers and be down there working with our people.”
Sandoval is a candidate to play third base next season, along with Brock Holt, Travis Shaw and Yoan Moncada. Sandoval also could get time at designated hitter following the retirement of slugger David Ortiz. Sandoval lost his third base job to Shaw in spring training this year.
After winning the AL East, Boston was swept in the Division Series by Cleveland, which won the AL pennant and lost the World Series to the Chicago Cubs in seven games.
Dombrowski, who joined the Red Sox in August 2015 after he was fired by Detroit, said he spoke to executives from the Atlanta Braves, who won 14 straight division titles from 1991-2005 but just one World Series, and John Hart, whose moves helped Cleveland to six first-place finishes in seven years from 1995-2001 without any championships.
“I’ve actually been involved in winning the division five of the last six years. We haven’t won a World Series,” Dombrowski said. “And I can’t seem to see that there’s a common thread when I start talking. If somebody has one, I’m kind of open to hear about it. You start talking about who plays well at a particular time period. It’s just one of those things. You look right off the bat, we had a couple guys that didn’t pitch as well as they’re capable of pitching, starting-wise, but we also didn’t swing the bats like we were capable of swinging.”
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