MLB: Giants release the Panda, World Series hero Pablo Sandoval

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The San Francisco Giants released longtime fan favorite Pablo Sandoval on Thursday, hours before the season opener against the San Diego Padres.

Sandoval, the MVP of the 2012 World Series, was signed to a minor league contract in February but his bid to be on a major league roster for the first time since 2021 fell short.

Sandoval was a member of three San Francisco championship teams — 2010, 2012, 2014 — and was nicknamed the “Kung Fu Panda.” He hit three homers during Game 1 of the 2012 World Series against the Detroit Tigers and six overall in that postseason.

Sandoval, 37, batted .250 with 14 strikeouts in 28 at-bats in spring training this year. The last hit came Tuesday night in a 3-1 loss to the Oakland Athletics at Oracle Park.

The home fans gave Sandoval a big ovation when he entered the game at third base and even a bigger one when he got the hit in the ninth inning. Sandoval understood the meaning.

“I think this is one of the most special moments I’ve had in my career,” Sandoval said afterward. “I don’t know if it’s my last at-bat here, but it was great. It was unbelievable. Getting that hit was the most important thing for the fans. Not for me, but for the fans.”

Sandoval said after the game that he wouldn’t retire if he was released by the Giants.

A two-time All-Star, Sandoval’s first stint with the Giants was from 2008-14. After the third World Series crown, he joined the Boston Red Sox as a free agent and had a rough time and was released in the middle of the 2017 season.

He returned to the Giants but never regained star status while his popularity remained high. He was released in September 2020 before hooking on with the Atlanta Braves for one game that season and 69 in 2021.

Sandoval holds a career batting average of .278 with 153 home runs and 639 RBIs in 1,380 games.

–Field Level Media

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