Pablo Sandoval won’t play in Venezuelan Winter League

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According to Andrew Baggarly of the San Francisco Chronicle, Pablo Sandoval won’t play for his hometown Navegantes de Magallanes in the Venezuelan Winter League. While the Giants initially cleared him to play in 10 games, he will now participate in the Home Run Derby and visit for a few days with family and friends before returning to the United States.

Sandoval’s agent, Ryan Morgan, said the change of plans had nothing to do with the recent kidnapping of Wilson Ramos in Venezuela, but that his client wants to maintain focus on his training regimen with Triple Threat Performance in Arizona. Kung Fu Panda packed on some pounds over the course of the season, but his goal is to report to spring training even lighter than he did this year.

Sandoval recently underwent LASIK surgery, which successfully corrected a 20/40 impairment in his left eye. And while he was limited during the second half of the season due to a sore left shoulder, Morgan said his client is now “100 percent.” Early contender for “best shape of his life”?

Sandoval, 25, batted .315/.357/.552 with 23 home runs, 70 RBI and a .909 OPS over 466 plate appearances this season. He is arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter.

Ronald Acuña batting sixth, playing left field in his Braves debut

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The Braves have made it official, announcing that they have called up top prospect Ronald Acuña. He’ll bat sixth in tonight’s game against the Reds and will start in left field.

Acuña will be wearing number 13, no doubt to honor past Braves luminaries like Adonis Garcia, Nate McLouth, Ozzie Guillen, Juan Eichelberger and Jerry Royster, all of whom have worn the fabled 1 and 3. Feel like he stands a pretty good chance of besting their exploits.

The 20-year-old Acuña was 11-for-his-last-33 with a homer, a double, four walks, and three stolen bases at Triple-A Gwinnett following a slow start. He tore it up in spring training, however, and hit .325/.374/.522 with 21 home runs, 82 RBI, 44 stolen bases, and 88 runs scored in 139 games last season across three levels of the Braves’ minor league system.

The future was delayed a bit, but it’s here now for the Atlanta Braves’ phenom.