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  • PAUL KITAGAKI JR. / pkitagaki@sacbee.com

    Pablo Sandoval heads for the dugout after hitting the second of his three home runs in Game 1 of the World Series last season. "That game is in the past," he says.

  • Darron Cummings / Associated Press

    Giants relief pitcher Sergio Romo does a drill during Wednesday's spring-training workout. Later, he took a turn on a bullpen mound.

  • Darron Cummings / Associated Press

    Giants catcher Buster Posey prepares to take a batting-cage hack Wednesday in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Same ol' Sandoval – one heavy hitter

Published: Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Monday, Mar. 25, 2013 - 7:23 am

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Pablo Sandoval's three-homer performance in Game 1 of last season's World Series was one for the record books and surely will be replayed for years to come. Except by the postseason hero himself.

"I get too excited," Sandoval said when asked why he doesn't like watching his demolition of Detroit Tigers starter Justin Verlander. "I don't want to get so excited. I'm just concentrating on now. That game is in the past."

For Sandoval, so is the World Series title and a championship in the Venezuelan winter league. He's ready to move on, and has just one concern: Stay healthy.

The third baseman played in 108 games last season – his lowest total since becoming a full-time starter – because of a hamstring strain and surgery to remove a fractured hamate bone, his second such procedure in two seasons.

"We got the (last) hamate bone out of the way," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said, smiling. "There's no way he can hurt that again, so that's nice."

Sandoval was hospitalized in the offseason because of colitis, an intestinal issue that he believes was caused by the water in Venezuela. While he isn't 100 percent recovered, he said he'll be ready for the team's first workout Saturday and is prepared for another round of his yearly conditioning camp.

This spring will be no different than past ones for the World Series MVP; Bochy would like him to drop some weight.

"He's got to lose a little bit – he knows it," Bochy said. "He'll be up here conditioning and doing his extra work to get it off."

Management has been strict with Sandoval in the past, but Bochy said despite the need for Sandoval to drop a few pounds, he isn't worried about his condition.

"It wasn't that long ago that players used spring training as the time to get in shape," Bochy said. "That's what the six, seven weeks was for, and Pablo is one of our exceptions. We'll use (this time) to get him in shape."

Sandoval's swing is already in form, something he displayed while leading his hometown team, Navegantes del Magallanes, to its first Venezuelan title since 2002. Sandoval took home his second championship series MVP award in three months and said the experience was something he cherished because of all the family members and friends in attendance.

"It meant a lot," he said. "That's my hometown. It was an important thing for me."

The winter ball stint and Sandoval's commitment to play for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic have cut into what already was a short offseason for Sandoval and the Giants, but he insists he has gotten more than enough rest. He even had time to be a judge in the Miss Universe pageant.

"It's been a pretty good year," Sandoval said, shrugging his shoulders and laughing quietly.

Teammates think it can get even better. When Sandoval exploded for three homers against Verlander in Game 1 of the World Series, the rest of the Giants repeatedly pointed out that Sandoval has the talent to put on prolific displays on a regular basis. But Sandoval won't make any predictions.

"You never know what's going to happen," Sandoval said. "You just have to hope you play the whole season."

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Alex Pavlovic



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