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Sandoval returning to Giants on minor league deal as he attempts to make a comeback

Pablo Sandoval San Francisco Giants Pablo Sandoval - The Canadian Press

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Pablo Sandoval is returning to the San Francisco Giants for a third stint with the club, this time on a minor league contract that includes an invitation to major league camp.

The 37-year-old Sandoval — a fan favorite nicknamed Kung Fu Panda who earned 2012 World Series MVP honors — will be attempting to get back to the big leagues for the first time since 2021, when he batted .178 with a .302 on-base percentage, four homers and 11 RBIs in 69 games with the Atlanta Braves.

“We had to sign Pablo because the workout videos he was sending me were taking up all the space on my phone,” Giants President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi said.

Sandoval is a two-time All-Star who played for the Giants’ 2010, 2012 and 2014 World Series-winning teams.

On Monday, the Giants posted on social media a video of Sandoval waving and smiling while arriving to Scottsdale Stadium with a big San Francisco duffel bag over his shoulder before going through the clubhouse to receive hugs and handshakes from his teammates.

He was named World Series MVP after batting .500 with three homers — all hit in Game 1 — during the Giants’ 2012 four-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers. He batted .429 with a 1.002 OPS in the '14 World Series as the Giants edged the Kansas City Royals in seven games.

Sandoval played for the Giants from 2008-14 before signing a $95 million, five-year contract with the Boston Red Sox, who released him in the summer of 2017. Sandoval then rejoined the Giants for a second stint from 2017-20. He was with the Braves from 2020-21.

The Giants released him in September 2020 after he'd come back in the spring from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow from September 2019. That year, then-manager Bruce Bochy — a father figure to the Venezuelan slugger — gave him one last at-bat despite the injury in what might have been his San Francisco farewell.

Now, the beloved third baseman might just get another chance.

He owns a .278 batting average, .330 on-base percentage, .443 slugging percentage, 153 homers and 639 RBIs in 1,380 career regular-season games while primarily playing third base.

Sandoval has batted .338 with a .921 OPS in 42 career postseason games, including a .426 average and 1.162 OPS in 12 World Series contests.