Giants

Pablo Sandoval thankful for second chance with Giants after Red Sox stint

Pablo Sandoval thankful for second chance with Giants after Red Sox stint

After helping the Giants win the 2014 World Series -- the franchise's third title in five seasons -- Pablo Sandoval left the Bay Area to sign a massive contract with the Boston Red Sox. But it wasn't the happy marriage he envisioned.

Sandoval struggled with injuries during his time in Boston, never living up to the five-year, $95 million contract the Red Sox gave him. It came to a head in 2017, when the Red Sox decided it was in their best interest to cut Sandoval -- believing his career to be all but over -- and eat the remaining $49.5 million left on the deal. 

After the Red Sox kicked him to the curb, Sandoval was labeled one of the biggest free-agent busts in recent history. That was a blow to the third baseman's ego.

"Being let go by the Red Sox hurt, especially because I was coming back from an injury and going through so many things in my life," Sandoval told ESPN's Marly Rivera. "I am a person who loves this sport. This is my passion. Besides my family, there is nothing I love more, and baseball has given me many blessings.

"But I also put in a lot of work and made many sacrifices, and I wasn't ready to leave the game. I wanted to prove to everyone, especially my children and my family, and set the example for my children, that in spite of the things that may happen to you, you always have to fight on."

Despite being cut by the Red Sox, blasted by the Boston media and fan base for his weight and lack of performance, Sandoval used his time in Boston as a way to grow.

"Being in Boston was a learning experience," Sandoval said. "The truth is that it was a great organization, and I have nothing against [the Red Sox]. And the fans, they are demanding, they want to see their players contribute. They want to see the best of them. And I learned from that."

Once he was cast aside by the Red Sox, Sandoval was hoping for one more chance to prove he still could hack it at the big league level. Of course, the Giants and manager Bruce Bochy still believed in him. They agreed to bring him back, but with the understanding that he was coming back to a different role on a different Giants team than the one he had left. 

"It was a learning opportunity because I had to start from scratch, forget what I had accomplished in the past and now try to do something different and accept a new role [as a bench player]," Sandoval told Rivera. "That has been difficult for me, to accept that role after playing every day or wanting to be an everyday player.

"But I am enjoying myself to the fullest. And I do that with a lot of love for those people who are in that office, that from the first they opened the doors to me."

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Sandoval adapted to his new role and has started to thrive once again with the Giants. This season he is slashing .269/.314/.509 with 14 home runs and 41 RBI, while playing an important role in helping the Giants make a push for the playoffs.

The veteran third baseman is thankful the Giants and Bochy believed in him and gave him one more chance to shine in the Bay.

"Despite all the things that I'd went through, the Giants always trusted me and they gave me the blessing of returning home. I am trying to make the best out of this second chance," Sandoval told ESPN.

"I think [Bochy] has been a very important factor in me being here today. He has always fought for me and put his feet to the fire for me, and I know I owe this second chance to him, and I love giving it all for him in what will be his final year."

Buster Posey to wear chest protector devoted to kids fighting cancer

Buster Posey to wear chest protector devoted to kids fighting cancer

MLB's Players' Weekend is here and its purpose is just that ... to honor the players we get to watch day in and day out playing the game.

Part of the celebration is how each individual player represents his own style and uniqueness. But Giants catcher Buster Posey is doing something a bit different, he's honoring others by wearing a special chest protector dedicated to kids who are fighting cancer:

Stamps from USCF Benioff Children's Hospitals and John Muir are on the shoulder portions of the protector.

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Alyssa added a heart next to the signature and toward the bottom, an "I love you" message was written. 

Like Posey tweets, sometimes, it's bigger than baseball. 

Giants' Bruce Bochy making history, set to manage career game No. 4,000

Giants' Bruce Bochy making history, set to manage career game No. 4,000

On his first day at Oracle Park earlier this month, Scooter Gennett met with the media and talked about how cool it is for him that he'll be around for Bruce Bochy's 2,000th win. That's been a talking point for players since the Giants manager announced this spring that 2019 will be his final big league season, although another milestone came and went earlier this month without any fanfare.

Bochy also reached 2,000 losses as a big league manager, and if you add them up, you naturally get to a much bigger and more imposing number. This Sunday in Oakland, Bochy will manage career game No. 4,000 in the big leagues. He'll become the eighth man in MLB history to reach 4,000, and by the end of the year he should pass Sparky Anderson and finish his career seventh all-time with 4,033 games managed. 

It's a huge number, one that had Bochy shaking his head recently when he realized it was coming up. While he won't finish with a .500 record as a manager, he still can do so with the Giants. They're currently four games above .500 in his 2,072 games as manager.

Thanks to the fine folks at Baseball-Reference, we have a few more astounding numbers from Bochy's career. He has been in the dugout as his pitchers have faced 153,193 opposing hitters, has called for 1,133 intentional walks, and has relayed the sacrifice bunt sign for 512 attempts that were put down by position players.

Bochy has used over 6,000 pinch hitters and this season is calling on 1.76 per game, the second-highest rate of his 25-year career. 

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In a sign of how the game has changed, Bochy is using 4.4 pitchers per game this season. He used just 3.3 in 1995, his first season leading the Padres, and never got above 4.0 until he came to San Francisco.

That's an adjustment he has made over time, and he's had plenty of opportunities -- 4,000 of them after tomorrow's game -- to hone his preferences.