Giants

Sandoval out to 'shut mouths' of doubters

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Sandoval out to 'shut mouths' of doubters

Pablo Sandoval's weight has been an issue in San Francisco since the jovial switch-hitter burst onto the scene with 25 home runs in 2009. After three years of debate, Sandoval could be tiring of weight-related questions.

"I don't care what people say about me," Sandoval told liderendeportes.com in an interview Sunday. "I am going to shut their mouths when Spring Training begins. By that date, I should be in good form."

Last offseason, the team introduced "Operation Panda," the strength and conditioning program designed specifically for Sandoval. It was a success, as the Giants introduced "the new Pablo Sandoval" at 2011 media day, slimmed down by some 30-plus pounds.

Sandoval appeared to put on weight over the course of the 162-game season, and this offseason, the focus again returned to shedding pounds.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy traveled with Sandoval to Taiwan as part of the five-game MLB exhibition tour -- the 2011 Taiwan All-Star Series -- Nov. 1-6.

After the USA team went 5-0, Bochy said he mentioned to Sandoval that he thought the slugger looked a little bit bigger than when the season concluded. Sandoval assured Bochy that he was around the same weight as when the season finished, citing his uniform as a potential reason for the big look.

Sandoval's stance Sunday took a more aggressive tone.

"Just because of seven pounds, they say I am fat?" Sandoval asked the Spanish language website. "Seven pounds are nothing. But people like to talk. I don't pay attention to those things. I am confident that I will do what I can on the field and always reach my goals."

"I'd like to see what the people who are talking about me say when they seem me in perfect physical condition. I don't have any fat on my body. The truth is, I've gained more muscle mass."

Sandoval's reaction comes nine days after Giants media day, at which Bochy voiced his opinion that Sandoval has "got a few pounds to work out before Spring Training." The manager conceded that Sandoval looked "better at media day than when Bochy saw him two weeks" prior in Arizona.

Sandoval, 25, hit .315 with 23 home runs and 70 RBIs in his first All-Star season, despite being limited to 117 games after a broken wrist and an end-of-the-season shoulder injury that kept him from batting right-handed.

Sandoval, who also had LASIK eye surgery in November, will look for a healthy year in his first season of the three-year, 17.15 million contract he signed in January.

With the new contract, Sandoval will be counted on -- along with Buster Posey, Aubrey Huff and newly-acquired Melky Cabrera -- to provide the Giants lineup with pop, something he's shown he can do with or without the extra pounds.

Nate Stuhlbarg is a web producer withCSNBayArea.com. Follow him on Twitter @StuhlbargCSN.

Giants hire David Bell to fill key front office role

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AP

Giants hire David Bell to fill key front office role

SAN FRANCISCO -- A familiar face is returning to the Giants organization to serve a key front office role. 

The Giants announced Friday that David Bell, their former third baseman, has been hired as Vice President of Player Development. The job was previously held by Shane Turner. At the end of the season, team officials hinted that Turner could be one of several members of the organization to be reassigned. 

In a statement, general manager Bobby Evans said Bell will "help shape our ongoing strategy and continued commitment to player development."

Bell, 45, played 12 major league seasons and spent 2002 with the Giants. He hit 20 homers that year as the starting third baseman and scored the winning run in the final game of the NLCS.

Since retiring, Bell has served as a minor league manager for the Reds and a big league coach for the Cubs and Cardinals. He spent last season as the bench coach in St. Louis. 

Dusty Baker won't be remembered the way he should be remembered

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AP

Dusty Baker won't be remembered the way he should be remembered

Firing a manager is easy, and there are lots of ways to do it.

Dusty Baker, for example. He worked this year on the last year of a contract, which usually means there won’t be another one, and he relied on his players to deliver the goods.

Which, as we remember from our reading, they didn’t do. Again.

But Baker was marked for the chop unless those players did deliver, and when they didn’t, general manager Mike Rizzo did the expedient thing.

He fired one person rather than several. And changed exactly nothing.

Baker’s managerial career is probably over now, as most teams don’t look at 68-year-olds to fix their teams. He will never manage a  World Series champion, something he ached for, and he was always be caricatured in part as the guy who didn’t speak metric, and who believed in players as men whenever in doubt.

And the Nats didn’t betray him, either. They were always not as good in the big moments because someone else was, and they became part of Washington’s new fetish – Why Can’t We Win One? It’s as if having a cringeworthy President isn’t good enough for them.

So the time came, and he will be replaced by someone who will either win and get credit for work that was largely his, or he won’t win and the town can continue to wallow in its tedious We’re-The-New-Cubs pity. It is the circle of life.

At least it is for groups of people. For individuals, the circle of life is actually nothing more than a straight line that ends abruptly. For Dusty Baker, as it did for Tony La Russa in Phoenix two days earlier, that day came today. He deserves to be remembered as a very good manager who won a lot more than he lost, made more friends than enemies, and was honest from Day One until the end.

Which, as we also know, doesn’t matter a whole lot on days like this.