FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski says he is not concerned about Pablo Sandoval’s weight.
After agreeing to a $95 million, five-year contract with the Red Sox, Sandoval hit .245 with a .292 on-base percentage and .366 slugging percentage — all career lows. He started just 122 games at third base, well below his career high of 150 in 2014 for San Francisco, and his range in the field appeared limited. He also abandoned switch-hitting during the season after going 2-for-41 (.049) with 12 strikeouts from the right side.
“He’s always been a big guy,” Dombrowski said Monday. “He has one of those bodies that is not a svelte body, and I’ve been around other people in that regards. Our people here, once he reported the first day, he did drills, they said he moved around great, better than he did last year at the end of the season.
“You could tell he was in better shape,” Dombrowski added, “so, no, I don’t have any concerns more so than I would with anybody else, other than we just have to realize you’re always going to have to stay with him because you can’t let that slip, the work ethic that he’s had this winter. And I think he’s prepared to not let that slip because I think he’s committed to coming back and having a very good season for us. So, no, not really. He’s got one of those bodies — they call him Panda for a reason — and really he’s the same as he’s been throughout his whole career.”
Boston went 78-84 and finished last in the AL East for the second straight season. Dombrowskl said a “constant flow of people” from the organization visited Sandoval throughout the offseason to monitor his work, including manager John Farrell and senior vice president of player personnel Allard Baird.
“It’s not like he left Oct. 1 and we didn’t see him until he arrived,” Dombrowski said. “We’d been seeing him on a regular basis. And I’ll say that even from my own perspective yesterday, even when I saw him, and I saw him when he walked in and I didn’t have any concerns whatsoever. He looked the same to me.”
Sandoval, 29, is expected to resume switch-hitting this season and said he worked almost exclusively on his right-handed swing during the offseason.
Sandoval said Sunday he had nothing to prove going into this season, then backtracked and said he wanted to show fans and teammates he can be a better player both offensively and defensively.
Dombrowski, who joined the Red Sox in August, and Farrell met with Sandoval before Monday’s workout.
“I don’t know if it was a language barrier when he said basically he didn’t really care,” Dombrowski said. “He didn’t have anything to prove to the media, he meant. He did say that he wanted to show the fans and his teammates that he was prepared and ready to have a good season, and we didn’t have a good year last year, all of us collectively. So I’m not sure why that didn’t come across well.”