It was a shortened off-season for the World Series champion San Francisco Giants this winter, but it was even shorter for their World Series MVP Pablo Sandoval. The hefty third baseman spent his winter playing in the Venezuelan Winter League for his hometown team of Magallanes as a labor of love. But has it been too much labor?
Sandoval took quite a bit of pride in returning to and playing well for his hometown team. He took them all the way to the league title and followed up his MVP performance in October against the Detroit Tigers with another MVP performance in the seven-game Venezuelan championship series. The Kung Fu Panda hit .300 with three home runs and nine RBIs in the series, including a 3-for-5 performance with a home run and a pair of doubles in the Game 7 clincher.
Sandoval will also compete for Venezuela in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. While there are some who fear he might not be getting enough rest between seasons, Sandoval insists he’s taken enough time to recuperate. He insists that playing in the Winter League and in the WBC for his home country is important to him as an opportunity to play for his family and friends.
But it’s not like Sandoval has done nothing but play baseball this off-season. Sandoval took some downtime to head to Las Vegas in December where he was a judge in the Miss Universe pageant. It was an easy choice for Sandoval who said his first and only response when asked to participate was “I’m in.”
For now, Sandoval is in camp with the Giants and even with all the baseball he has been playing this winter, manager Bruce Bochy still has some work to do on his third baseman. Bochy would like to see Sandoval shed some weight before the team opens the 2013 season on April 1 against the Los Angeles Dodgers on the road.
So Sandoval has been hard at work all winter, but still has some tough work left to do before the season gets under way. Are there any worries that the Round Mound of Pound is going to burn out before the Giants’ title defense even gets under way?