Pablo Sandoval Defends Conditioning, Using Weight Talk As Motivation

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Pablo Sandoval has issued a challenge.

Sandoval, whose weight has been a subject of conversation in recent days after an unflattering photo of the Boston Red Sox third baseman surfaced on the Internet, shrugged off the issue Saturday following a workout at JetBlue Park. The slugger did, however, challenge the photographer of the aforementioned photo — or really anyone, for that matter — to walk a mile in his shoes.

“I love it. I’m making fun of it,” Sandoval said of the photo. “I’ve put other pictures out there making fun of it because I want him to spend one day with me to see how hard I work. I’m ready.”

Sandoval, listed at 245 pounds, isn’t a small guy, by any means. He’s been a big dude his entire seven-year career. But the photo in question still had the Internet buzzing. The Red Sox signed the 28-year-old to a five-year, $95 million contract over the offseason, so there’s obviously a lot of pressure for him to succeed.

That said, Red Sox manager John Farrell and general manager Ben Cherington have made it clear they have no concerns about Sandoval’s conditioning. It isn’t like his body type has changed since he put pen to paper back in November. Sandoval has come as advertised, positive attitude included.

“Every single day, in and out. Bad days. Good days. You have to be happy,” Sandoval said. “Nothing you can lose out there.”

So will the outside skepticism push Sandoval even harder?

“I love it,” said Sandoval, whose teammates also made light of the recent photo. “It motivates me to work hard to show up and keep his mouth shut. That’s what I do.”

Kung Fu Panda’s weight might fluctuate, but his positive attitude appears unwavering, even in the midst of dishing out a challenge.

Thumbnail photo via Tony Gutierrez/The Associated Press

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