Pablo Sandoval dedicates his latest blast to all the warm and fuzzy pandas out there.
In case you didn't know, Carlos Zambrano has a soft spot for cute and cuddly carnivores, specifically those with a martial arts background. The San Francisco Giants have strongly urged Pablo Sandoval, aka Kung Fu Panda, to shed some pounds this offseason, but Big Z doesn't think it's necessary. "It's up to him. If he feels comfortable with that weight, it's good for him. If he doesn't feel comfortable and he thinks he needs to lose weight, it's good for him, too," said Zambrano.
Bamboo diet or not, the Kung Fu Panda has been feasting on opposing pitchers since last season. Sandoval batted .330 with 25 HR and 90 RBI in 2009 and his rampage has continued into spring training. During Wednesday's 5-1 victory over the Cubs, Sandoval cranked a grand slam off Zambrano, his Venezuelan buddy. "Sandoval can hit. It doesn't matter how big you are ... You have to give him more credit for the ability he has," said Zambrano.
Echoing El Toro's thoughts, Sandoval has more important issues to resolve; like devising handshakes for newly acquired Giants Aubrey Huff and Mark DeRosa. San Fran's favorite panda has a special handshake for every member of the Giants squad highlighted by his two-finger-flinger with pitcher Matt Cain. If Sandoval suffers from handshake block, he could adopt FSU's "three-piece with a biscuit on the side" for Huff. And if DeRosa is up to task, he and Sandoval would make quite the pair performing Kid 'n Play's classic footshake.
P-Val should also give some thought to a brand new All-Star campaign. In July 2009, Sandoval was named a Sprint Final Vote candidate for the last roster spot on the National League All-Star Team, but his Chicks Dig Pandas campaign faltered and fans voted in Shane Victorino on the last day of balloting. For 2010, may we suggest a video montage paying homage to California's All Valley Tournament? Using CGI, we'll superimpose Sandoval's head on Daniel LaRusso's body while taking the NL West's best opposing pitchers and casting them as Cobra Kai (Dan Haren can play Johnny Lawrence). Of course, Tim Lincecum will play the part of Mr. Miyagi, using wizardry to heal Sandoval before his final bout versus Haren.
Most importantly, Sandoval is still determining his natural position. As a major leaguer, he's played first base, third base and even catcher. Although, we doubt the Giants will subject their young slugger to any more punishment behind the plate. In 2008, the A's made panda roadkill out of him.
What we're trying to say is: give the 23-year-old some leeway. He's got a lot on his plate (no pun intended).