Pablo Sandoval is shrinking!

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At the beginning of last week, Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle published a story about Pablo Sandoval and his offseason workout program.  The third baseman, of course, was claiming to be in “the best shape of his life” and ready to turn his career around after a disappointing 2010 campaign.

We were skeptical.  Sandoval tried a similar diet and workout plan last winter and he wound up actually putting on more weight in the end.

But take a look at this picture (to the right, or here) that “Kung Fu Panda” is using on his Twitter profile.  Schulman said that Sandoval was down 17 pounds.  Another reporter claimed he had dropped 22 pounds.  We’re thinking it might be like 30 pounds, at least.  He looks like half of his former self.

Sandoval exploded onto the major league scene in 2009 with a stellar .330/.387/.556 batting line, 25 homers and 90 RBI.  He got MVP votes.

It all took a tumble last year as he battled conditioning issues, but the 24-year-old appears to be serious about making the correct changes.

Video: Albert Almora, Jr. lays out to make a great catch in deep right-center field

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Cubs center fielder Albert Almora, Jr. robbed Giants first baseman Brandon Belt of at least a double in the top of the first inning of Monday’s game at Wrigley Field. Almora completely left his feet to catch the ball before landing just shy of the warning track.

The Giants took the early lead two batters prior to Belt’s at-bat as Joe Panik hit a solo home run to center field.

Anibal Sanchez accepts optional assignment to Triple-A

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The Tigers announced on Monday that pitcher Anibal Sanchez has accepted an optional assignment to Triple-A Toledo. Pitcher Warwick Saupold was recalled from Toledo to take Sanchez’s roster spot.

Sanchez, 33, continued to struggle this season pitching out of the bullpen. He gave up 26 runs (21 earned) on 34 hits and nine walks with 22 strikeouts in 21 innings. Nine of those 34 hits were home runs. Sanchez finished the 2015 season with a 4.99 ERA and last season with a 5.87 ERA, so he’s had a rough go of it in recent years.

The decision to go to Triple-A was Sanchez’s, Anthony Fenech of the Free Press reports. Sanchez wants to be stretched out as a starting pitcher again.