Thanks to Jim Davis and his camera we can see that Pablo Sandoval reported to camp yesterday and doesn’t seem to have lost an ounce since the culmination of last season.
Sandoval seemed to be in good spirits when he came and took ground balls at third base with Travis Shaw and took batting practice two days prior to the report date.
However in his conversations with the media following the workout he noted that nobody came out and told him that he had to lose any weight over the offseason contrary to what those in charge of the organization told him.
ESPN’s Rick Webber reported that he said, “I don't weigh. I don't weigh in at all," in response to a question asking how much weight he had lost. "I just do my work, try to do everything I can out there. I don't weigh at all in the whole offseason. I just try to get better, be in a better position and, like I say, be an athlete."
That work apparently included not having a focus on losing weight per se. “I prepared myself to be an athlete in the field,'' he said according to Sean McAdam of CSNNE. "I didn't try to lose weight.''
But it’s cool that he didn’t try to lose any weight because he really doesn’t even have anything to prove to the fans.
"I don't got anything to prove [in 2016]," Sandoval said according to ESPN’s Rick Webber. "I just prepare myself to perform well, to support my teammates to play well, to try to get to the final, to the World Series. So that's what I'm doing. I have personal goals this year I've got in my mind. Keep working hard and do things out there on the field."
So not only was his approach this offseason focused on being healthy, lifting weights and track and field, but he wasn’t even doing these workouts in order to shed weight; and on top of that, he doesn’t feel like he needs to prove anything this season.
Oh, and last year was “not a disappointment,” according to McAdam.
Yes, you read that right.
Sandoval’s full quote from McAdam goes a little like this: “It's not a disappointment, it's baseball. You're not going to have all season (be) great. You're going to have ups-and-downs. So you have to prepare yourself to be ready and when those down moments, shake it off and keep working hard to prove next year you're better than that.”
But wait, it gets even better; later on in the conversation with the media, he told Webber that, “I'm going to prove to the fans, going to prove to my teammates, that I can be a better defensive player, offensive player, to win games. That's what I do. I have to prove, have to work hard to get to that moment."
So now he is acknowledging that something needs to change from last year and he needs to show us all something which means that he was dodging the earlier question and is trying to make up for his mistake later on.
A couple hours after this interview, John Farrell had his time with the media and did say that there was no specific number placed on Pablo in terms of how many pounds he needed to drop.
The Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy reported that Farrell said “We told him we needed him to come back in better condition. Along with that, you anticipate there’s some potential for weight to be dropped. But there wasn’t a specific number given where we said, ‘We want you to come in at this weight.’"
More often than not the words “better condition” is equivalent to weight loss but maybe it was just a miscommunication and Pablo didn’t fully understand it after hearing it three different times from his full-time Manager, his interim Manager and the President of Operations.
Farrell did note that Pablo had to increase his range and the workout plan they prescribed him looked to have done the job. Webber reported after that conversation that Farrell said, “I can tell you that the work he put in in the offseason and watching it first-hand, we feel like he's in better condition today when he walked in here."
On top of that, McAdam reported that an official from within the Red Sox organization paid Pablo multiple visits down in Miami over the offseason and reported that “Sandoval was routinely at a gym prior to 6 a.m., committed to getting in better shape and rebounding from 2015.”
The official went on to tell McAdam, “‘He's getting underneath grounders, the way you should. He couldn't do that a year ago.’”
So if he really did put in enough work to improve upon his 2015 campaign, the one thing that will carry over is his weight.
Maybe that weight will hold him back on the field again; maybe the added athleticism will help him in his return to switch hitting on top of his efforts on the hot corner.
Only time will show us and we are now another day closer to seeing the Panda and the rest of the Sox coming back home to Fenway.