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Pablo Sandoval Was Off To A Great Start Before His Injury
Pablo Sandoval joined the Giants and quickly became a fan favorite. Nicknamed the Kung Fu Panda, the effervescent, happy-go-lucky third baseman had an excellent first two years for the Giants.
In 2008, the Panda hit .345 in 145 at-bats, then followed it up in 2009 by hitting .330 with 25 home runs and 90 RBI. Fans in San Francisco, young and old alike, wore panda hats throughout the stadium. Sandoval was the jolly, rotund star that the fans adored.
Then, it all changed in 2010.
Sandoval's weight ballooned up and easily surpassed his batting average. He hit only .268 with 13 home runs and 68 RBI. What made matters worse is he was terrible in the field, as he was just too fat. As he lost confidence at the plate and in the field, things just got worse.
Sandoval was benched late in the season during the stretch run. He also played only sporadically in the postseason. Giants GM Brian Sabean warned that unless Sandoval lost weight and came into camp in shape, he would not make the 2011 roster.
The Panda took the warning to heart and went on a rigorous nutrition and exercise program in the offseason. He lost 45 pounds and reported to camp in the best shape of his career. The almost svelte-looking Panda regained the bat speed he lost the previous year and was also much better defensively.
Sandoval got off to a very good start in 2011 and was hitting .313 with five home runs and 14 RBI, prior to breaking his hand. He is due back in a week or two, and the Giants will need him to come back strong, especially since Buster Posey is lost for the season.