After a having a season-to-forget in his first year with the Boston Red Sox, Pablo Sandoval was expected to show up to spring training as a new man, with reports from manager John Farrell surfacing earlier in January that the third baseman was "roughly 20 pounds lighter" from the end of the 2015 season.
But when Sandoval reported to spring training Sunday, he reportedly looked about the same as he did last season, with no weight loss apparent. Sandoval claimed, despite signs stating otherwise, the Red Sox did not ask him to drop some pounds before the new baseball year.
Experiencing a noticeable weight gain during the 2015 campaign, Sandoval struggled mightily at the plate and defensively. He hit .245/.292/.366, but just 10 homers with a career-low 47 RBI. He was the lowest ranked defensive third baseman in the majors.
"I don’t got nothing to prove," 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."
Despite not stepping on the scale during the offseason, Sandoval believes he has bettered himself in preparation for a comeback in 2016.
"I started working out to prepare myself to be an athlete in the field," Sandoval said. "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."
Along with his expectations to be a better player overall, Sandoval hopes to return to being a switch hitter with his "confidence" in batting right-handed returning. He abandoned being a switch hitter early last season after going 2 for 41 from the right side of the plate.
Overall, despite the lack of a difference in his physique, Sandoval is out to prove he’s worth the five-year, $95 million contract he signed with the Red Sox prior to 2015.
"I’m going to prove to the fans, going to prove to my teammates, that I can be a better defensive player, offensive player, to win games," he said. "That’s what I do. I have to prove, have to work hard to get to that moment."