Sabean on Pablo Sandoval: shape up or ship out!

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Giants’ beat writer Hank Schulman spoke with Brian Sabean. Pablo Sandoval came up. Schulman says that, according to Sabean, “Panda starts next year in minors if he doesnt get his act together.”

I’m assuming this is primarily about his conditioning, which many felt was responsible for his pretty terrible 2010 season. Conditioning so poor that a guy who was supposed to be a key component for the Giants was a complete non-factor in the postseason and watched from the bench as his teammates won it all. And he capped that off by being photographed as he prepared to dig in to a giant Buca di Beppo sundae. Which isn’t exactly a great moment in messaging.

Last year the Giants’ offseason was dominated by talk of “Camp Panda,” the team’s effort to get Sandoval into shape.  That obviously didn’t work, because he looked as big as Peterbilt once spring training came around and it only got worse after that. This winter, I suspect, that they won’t consider Sandoval’s condition  to be their primary responsibility Because, quite frankly, they’ve shown that they don’t need him in order to win.  It’s gonna be up to him to decide if he wants to be around for more winning.

If he fails? Big trouble for Sandoval. Because there ain’t no Bucca di Beppo in Fresno.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with left ankle injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.