Pablo Sandoval's weight is typically a hot topic when February rolls around, and his infamous paunch was bound to be a talking point this spring, in particular, following a disastrous first season with the Boston Red Sox in which he seemed to get bigger as the campaign progressed.
When Sandoval showed up at the Fenway South complex Sunday morning, though, the beleaguered third baseman said he wasn't asked to lose weight this winter, contrary to remarks made by manager John Farrell, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, and bench coach Torey Lovullo. In fact, Sandoval said, he didn't even weigh himself this winter.
"I don't weigh. I don't weigh in at all," Sandoval told ESPN's Rick Weber after being asked 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."
According to Sandoval, who's listed at 255 pounds, weight loss wasn't one of his offseason goals, but general manager Mike Hazen said Sunday that the team did "ask him to be in better condition," albeit without giving him "a specific number."
"I started working out to prepare myself to be an athlete in the field," said Sandoval. "So that's what I do. I don't try to lose weight. I don't try to do nothing. I just try to put in my work, feel better, the things that I can do in the field to be better are better, so that's what I do."
The Red Sox may be more amenable to Sandoval's size if he can prove 2015 was just an aberration. An All-Star twice in seven seasons with the San Francisco Giants, the 29-year-old posted minus-2.0 wins above replacement last year - tied for the worst mark in baseball - while managing career-lows in OPS (.658), batting average (.245), and strikeout rate (14.5 percent).
"I don't got nothing to prove (in 2016)," Sandoval said. "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."