John Farrell: Pablo Sandoval 'in better condition than he finished the year'

Pablo Sandoval batted just .245 with 10 home runs in 126 games for the Red Sox last season. Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- When Pablo Sandoval said Sunday morning that no one from the Boston Red Sox ever asked him to lose weight in the offseason, he might not have been lying.

A few hours later, at his midday meeting with the media, manager John Farrell said Sandoval was told directly in his exit interview after the 2015 season to report in "better condition" at spring training and was given a workout routine to accomplish that. No specific weight loss was discussed, but Farrell believed it was implied.

"We outlined he needed to come back in better condition, and along with that, you anticipate there's the potential for weight to be dropped," he said. "But there wasn't a specific number given that said, 'Hey, we want you to come in at this weight.'"

And from that vantage point, Farrell seemed pleased with what he saw in Sandoval.

"I just saw him briefly this morning, but I can tell you that seeing him in January and spending a couple of days with him, we feel like he is in better condition than he finished the year in last year, so we feel like it will allow his range to be improved at third base, which is needed," Farrell said. "But I can tell you that the work he put in in the offseason and watching it first-hand, we feel like he's in better condition today when he walked in here."

Sandoval said last year that one of the reasons why he left San Francisco was that the Giants insisted that he remain on a weight regimen, which he said wouldn't allow him to "be myself." There is no weight clause in his Red Sox contract.

Farrell said that Hanley Ramirez was asked to lose 20 pounds before spring training because he had bulked up last year to play the outfield, and now he needs more athleticism and agility in his switch to first base.

"That was not the case with Pablo," Farrell said.

Sandoval is returning to switch-hitting after abandoning it last May when he was in a 2-for-41 rut from the right side. Farrell said he had developed some bad habits over the past few years as a right-handed hitter -- lunging at a lot of pitches -- and has no objection to Sandoval not working from the left side in the offseason.

"He knows his swing better than anyone, because he does hit so much," Farrell said. "You get 45 days of spring training, that's going to give you plenty of days of repetition from the left side. But it was clear he needed more work from the right side, and obviously he has spent the majority of the offseason working on it."

How will Farrell manage Sandoval this season to get the best out of him?

"A lot is going to be dependent on how he performs as a right-handed hitter," he said. "If there's days to give him a breather, it might be against left-handed pitchers. I think for every player, there's got to be some built-in rest occasionally to keep them fresh, to keep their legs underneath them. And we would pick those days when you've got a left-handed starter."

Other takeaways from Farrell's media session:

• He said that new acquisition Chris Young will start in the outfield any time the Red Sox face a left-handed starting pitcher. He said if that meant that Jackie Bradley Jr. did not start, then Young would inherit his position in center field, rather than move Mookie Betts there.

"In fairness to Chris, there's got to be some at-bats against right-handers along the way to keep some timing, but it's clear his strength is against left-handed pitching," Farrell said. "So we're also about, 'What's the best combination on the field? What's the best lineup to attack that starter on a given day?'"

Koji Uehara is "improved" in his recovery from a sinus infection. He had an indoor warmup and played catch outside on Sunday.

"We expect over the next day or two that he will be back mainstreamed with the rest of the pitchers," Farrell said. "He missed probably six or seven days of throwing, so we need a couple of days of long toss before we get him to the mound."

Edwin Escobar, recovering from the flu, is "still a few days away" from returning, according to Farrell.