Pablo Sandoval

Zaidi drops hilarious one-liner about Giants' Sandoval camp addition

NBC Universal, Inc. Pablo Sandoval signed a minor league contract with an invite to spring training for the Giants in an attempt to make an MLB comeback. The 37-year-old reported to Giants camp Monday morning. 

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- As Pablo Sandoval prepared to make an unlikely comeback last month, he blew up phones across the Giants organization. The man who ultimately made the decision to put Sandoval on the spring roster was no exception. 

When asked why the Giants added the 37-year-old to their non-roster invitee list, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi provided a humorous response in a text sent to beat writers.

"We had to sign Pablo because the workout videos he was sending me were taking up all the space on my phone," Zaidi said.

Sandoval truly might be in the best shape of his life, and at the very least, he's significantly slimmed down from most of his previous 1,149 games for the Giants. He's moving well and feels good about his swing, and when he met with reporters before the first full-squad workout on Monday, he said this is no gimmick. 

Sandoval hopes to make the team, or at least set himself up for another run somewhere in Major League Baseball. He knows that's a long shot but his message to manager Bob Melvin was essentially, "Never tell me the odds."

"He doesn't want to hear anything about what his chances are," Melvin said. "He's going to go out there and he's going to play and he's going to try to force our hand."

The Giants plan to get Sandoval reps at the corners this spring and he spent most of his day Monday backing J.D. Davis up at third base. Between grounders, Sandoval exchanged laughs with shortstop Marco Luciano but also gave out some advice. The Giants are hopeful he's a mentor to their young Spanish-speaking prospects, and fellow Venezuelan Luis Matos said he got excited texts from Sandoval in recent weeks. 

Against all odds, it is Sandoval who is the last one standing from the 2014 squad a few months before the Giants plan to honor that title team. His presence in camp means a couple of other small things, too.

Alex Cobb was delighted to learn that he's no longer the oldest player in camp. Austin Slater ended up with less than a week as the longest-tenured Giant, a title he inherited from Brandon Crawford. 

"It was a good run," he said, smiling. 

Cobb and Slater are locks to be on the roster during the season. There are no guarantees for Sandoval, but he's taking this opportunity seriously and the Giants were fine with mixing him in right away. Melvin, who has managed three other organizations since he first faced Sandoval while with the Arizona Diamondbacks, said he was all for it when Zaidi brought him the possibility. 

"He's had a big impact on this team over the years," Melvin said. "He's got an infectious personality, he's experienced, he's motivated, and I think there's a lot that can rub off on some of our younger guys, too."

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