Banning described how he worked to hide Sandoval from the Giants during the offseason after the 2011 season. Sandoval had gained more than 20 pounds in three weeks as the two sides were negotiating a new contract. It worked, as Sandoval signed a three-year, $17.15 million extension in January 2012.
“I would go pick him up at a random location, drive him to the facility so that his car wouldn’t be there, so if they dropped in they wouldn’t know he was there,” Banning said. “So for about a three-week period, he had the flu — we had every excuse in the world. We were just trying to rip weight off him again. And it ballooned way out of control.”
“I was coming in seven days a week, he was training three times a day on six days, and on Sundays he was training twice,” Banning said. “It was that bad. I mean, it got out of control.”
Banning also spoke positively about Sandoval, saying that the veteran of nine seasons could lose weight if he wanted to, but he added, “You need the baby sitter.” He went on, “At the end of the day, I’m speaking truth. […] I love the guy.”
Obviously, this doesn’t come as any surprise, as Sandoval’s conditioning has been a topic of conversation for years. He showed up to spring training — after a miserable 2015 showing — appearing to have put on some weight. And now the Red Sox have Sandoval on the disabled list with a mysterious shoulder injury after he lost the third base job to Travis Shaw.