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Pablo Sandoval

San Francisco Giants — No. 48
Third baseman / Catcher / First baseman
Born: August 11, 1986 (1986-08-11) (age 23)
Carabobo, Venezuela
Bats: Switch Throws: Switch[1 ] 
MLB debut
August 14, 2008 for the San Francisco Giants
Career statistics
(through October 4, 2009)
Batting average     .333
Home runs     28
Runs batted in     114
Hits     239

Pablo E. Sandoval (born August 11, 1986, in Puerto Cabello, Carabobo, Venezuela), nicknamed "Kung-Fu Panda," is a Major League Baseball player for the San Francisco Giants. Sandoval is a 5'11", 245 pound switch hitter, and throws right-handed.[1 ]


Minor leagues

Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2002, Sandoval began his professional career as a catcher in 2004 with the AZL Giants, hitting .266 with no home runs and 26 RBIs in 177 at bats.

In 2005, he was used almost entirely as a third baseman while playing for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. He hit .330 with three home runs and 50 RBIs. His batting average slumped in 2006 to .265. He had one home run and 49 RBIs with the Augusta GreenJackets that year, splitting time between first and third base. In 2007, he played for the San Jose Giants, hitting .287 with 11 homers and 52 RBIs. That season, he was used as a catcher and first baseman.

In 2008, he spent time with two minor league teams, the Single-A San Jose Giants and the Double-A Connecticut Defenders, before being called up to the majors. In 273 at bats for San Jose, he hit .359 with 12 home runs and 59 RBIs. In 175 at bats with Connecticut, he hit .337 with 8 homers and 37 RBIs. In total, he hit .350 with 20 home runs and 96 RBIs in 2008.

Major leagues

Sandoval was called up to the majors on August 13, 2008. He debuted the next day, August 14, going 0-for-3. In his first MLB plate appearance, he hit a sacrifice fly for an RBI. He got his first hit in the second inning of his next game, August 16, on his way to going 3-for-5. In 41 games in 2008, he hit .345 with 3 home runs and 24 RBI, striking out 14 times in 154 at-bats. He hit his first MLB home run on August 27 off of Livan Hernandez of the Colorado Rockies.

On defense, the Giants have used him as a starting third baseman, first baseman, and, for a short period, as a catcher for pitcher Barry Zito,[2] who gave Sandoval the nickname Kung Fu Panda.[3] He received the nickname after a play on September 19, 2008, where he scored a run against the Los Angeles Dodgers by jumping over the tag of catcher Danny Ardoin, scoring from second base on a single by Bengie Molina.[4]

In 2009 spring training, he batted .457, leading all batters with 80 or more at bats.[5] On May 12, 2009, Sandoval hit his first walk-off home run to beat the Washington Nationals 9–7. In 145 at bats, he batted .345 while striking out only fourteen times. After 73 games played, San Francisco Chronicle columnist Scott Ostler wrote that Sandoval had made the most impressive transition from the Giants farm system since 1986 when Will Clark and Robby Thompson were rookies.[6]

Sandoval's first days in the majors were marked by a tendency to free swing. Giants hitting coach Carney Lansford noted that Sandoval contributed to the team's drawing the fewest walks in the National League at a time when the overall number of walks throughout baseball had increased. "As much as I try to get him to be disciplined, it's like caging a lion. He leaves the dugout ready to swing the bat. I literally tell him before every at-bat, 'Swing at a strike.'"[7] Sandoval himself characterized his approach as: "See ball, swing." In July 2009, he was named a Sprint Final Vote candidate for the 80th annual All-Star Game for the final roster spot on the National League team.[8] He was beat out by Shane Victorino of the Philadelphia Phillies on the last day of voting.[9]

Sandoval's personality and sense of humor are a huge presence in the Giants clubhouse and on the field. He is noted for stating in a conversation with Duane Kuiper after their 6 game losing streak just before they snapped it "I just filled my car up with gas so I'm feelin pretty good right now".

On July 6, 2009, Sandoval hit his first career grand slam at home at AT&T Park against the visiting Florida Marlins.

On July 30, 2009, Sandoval hit his first home run into McCovey Cove on Willie McCovey's 50th anniversary of his MLB Debut with McCovey in attendance. At the time of the home run, McCovey was being interviewed by Giants commentators Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow on the Giant's flagship station CSN Bay Area. Pablo Sandoval also made Giants history for most hits by a Giants switch-hitter in a single season with 189 in 2009.

Sandoval finished the 2009 season with the second-highest batting average among NL hitters, at .330, and finished seventh in NL MVP voting.[10]


  1. ^ a b "All the comforts of far-away home". Retrieved 2009-03-08.  
  2. ^ Schulman, Henry (May 9, 2009). "Molina sits for another Zito start". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-05-13.  
  3. ^ Castrovince, Anthony (February 10, 2009). "For ballplayers, what's in a (nick)name?". Retrieved 2009-05-13.  
  4. ^ "Barry Zito pitches Giants to win over Dodgers". Yahoo! Sports. 2008-11-19. Retrieved 2009-07-14.  
  5. ^ "Major League Baseball Hitting Stats, 2009". Retrieved 2009-05-13.  
  6. ^ Ostler, Scott (May 14, 2009). "Despite pratfall, Sandoval is a player". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-05-14.  
  7. ^ Haft, Chris (May 20, 2009). "Free-swinging Giants eschew walks". Retrieved 2009-05-21.  
  8. ^ Pentis, Andrew (June 24, 2009). "Controlling weight key to Sandoval's prowess". Retrieved 2009-06-26.  
  9. ^ Haft, Chris (2009-07-09). "Sandoval gracious in Final Vote defeat". Retrieved 2009-07-14.  
  10. ^ Leach, Matthew (2009-11-24). "Third time is charming for MVP Pujols". Retrieved 2009-11-24.  

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