Giants' Sandoval reacts during workouts in preparation for the Major League Baseball's World Series in San Francisco

Pablo Sandoval is in the best shape of his life?

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Maybe not. But Hank Schulman says that the Panda is on his way there:

Yes, yes, yes. You’ve heard this before. You’re skeptical, and you should be, until you see what he looks like in spring training.

Nevertheless, I’ve heard from a number of folks that Pablo Sandoval’s conditioning work at a private facility in Arizona is paying dividends … [Rich] Aurilia lives in Phoenix and told me today he saw Pablo at a shopping mall just before Christmas. Sandoval told him he had lost 17 pounds.

So it’s second hand. And given that it was a self-estimate, it was probably overstated (has anyone who has ever had a hint of a weight problem ever done anything different?)  And even it was 17 pounds, given where Sandoval was, ten pounds of it was probably just water weight bloat.

Forgive me if I’m not being terribly charitable to Sandoval here. But given how much weight he put on last year and how unsuccessful his weight-loss program was last offseason, I’m skeptical.

Edinson Volquez’s brother was stabbed to death in the Dominican Republic

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 20: Starting pitcher Edinson Volquez #36 of the Kansas City Royals pitches during the first inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on September 20, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Horrible news for Marlins stater Edinson Volquez: Jorge L. Ortiz of USA Today reports that his younger brother has been stabbed to death in the Dominican Republic.

Brandy Volquez was just 25. He was involved in an early-morning fight on Monday with two men at a barbershop in Santo Domingo. One man is in police custody. Volquez, you may recall, lost his father mere hours before starting Game 1 of the 2015 World Series, so he is no stranger to tragedy, unfortunately.

“I will always remember you my brother. May God have you in his kingdom,” Volquez wrote in an Instagram post. “RIP one love.”

Diamondbacks sign Gregor Blanco

Gregor Blanco
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The Arizona Diamondbacks have signed outfielder Gregor Blanco to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Blanco hit a mere .224/.309/.311 in 106 games with the Giants in 2006. It was his worst campaign in his big league career, not counting a 24-game stint with the Braves in 2009. Blanco suffered at least one concussion in 2015 and was on the DL for concussion issues twice that season. There’s no telling if that had anything to do with his subpar year, however.

He’ll fight for a backup job for Arizona, who already has A.J. Pollock, David Peralta and Yasmany Tomas in the outfield.