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.
Fresh off our “Manny Machado didn’t hustle” post, here’s one about him trying a little too hard. Machado was called for interference in the bottom of the fourth inning during Monday night’s NLCS Game 3 against the Brewers at Dodger Stadium. It was actually Machado’s second attempt to interfere with Orlando Arcia during the game.
In the bottom of the second, Machado led off with a single. Cody Bellinger followed up by hitting a grounder to second baseman Travis Shaw, who fed to Arcia. Machado slid towards Arcia enough to disrupt the play, allowing Bellinger to reach first base safely. The Brewers didn’t challenge, in part because Arcia didn’t attempt a throw.
Fast forward to the bottom of the fourth. Machado again leads off and again reaches base, this time with a walk. Bellinger hits another grounder. First baseman Jesús Aguilar snags the ball and fires to Arcia covering the second base bag. Machado slides into second base and reaches out with his right hand to mess with Arcia’s throw to first base. It succeeds, as Arcia’s throw skips past first base towards the dugout. Brewers manager Craig Counsell challenged the call, alleging slide interference (the “Chase Utley rule”). The umpires reviewed the play and agreed that Machado did indeed interfere with Arcia, so Bellinger was called out. What made Machado’s effort even worse is that Bellinger would’ve reached easily regardless, so there was no need to interfere with Arcia.
The Dodgers trail the Brewers 1-0 through the first half of the game. The Brewers got their run early thanks to an RBI double by Ryan Braun off of Walker Buehler in the top of the first. Jhoulys Chacín has pitched excellently for the Brewers thus far.