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Kung Fu Panda is packing on the pounds, but he’s carrying it wellAs Hardball Talk's Aaron Gleeman pointed out Tuesday, it's not hard to tell where Pablo Sandoval(notes) gained a few pounds over the course of this season.

The picture on the left was taken by the Associated Press in April while the one on the right is from Monday night's game against the Padres.

So, uh, yeah: Apparently the Kung Fu Panda found time for a few extra Buca di Beppo sundaes during his All-Star season.

However, despite appearances, it seems unlikely that the San Francisco Giants will again read the riot act to Sandoval before he hits the training table in the offseason.

Or if they do, they'll do it in a less ominous and foreboding manner than they did after last year's exit interview. After all, Sandoval owns the best OPS+ (138) on the team by far — no matter how much he weighs right now.

From MLB.com:

[Giants manager Bruce] Bochy acknowledged that third baseman Pablo Sandoval has regained some of the weight he lost before this season, when he shed an estimated 40 pounds to 240. But Bochy quickly added that Sandoval's in much better shape than he was last year, when his playing time dwindled toward the end of the season and he was benched in the World Series except for a one-game stint as a designated hitter. "Overall, it's been good," Bochy said of Sandoval's self-maintenance.

Bochy is right to say it's been good. Despite the contrast of those photos, Sandoval's first and second-half splits don't reflect it. In fact, his numbers have actually improved a little bit as his Panda padding has increased:

2011 first half (50 games): .303/.341/.503, 8 HR, 29 RBI
2011 second half (53 games): .298/.349/.524, 11 HR, 31 RBI

That's not a huge increase, of course, but it's a lot better than his fall from grace during the second half of 2010. While the Giants will no doubt want to keep a close eye on his waistline this winter, those stats I listed above should allow GM Brian Sabean to rest at least a little easier while addressing the rest of the lineup that isn't producing at any weight.

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