Giants fan favorite Sandoval to join camp as non-roster invitee

Giants fan favorite Sandoval to join camp as non-roster invitee originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Giants will honor their 2014 team in August, and with Brandon Crawford still a free agent, they have been without any members of that roster for the first time. That’s about to change.

Pablo Sandoval will come to camp as a non-roster invitee, NBC Sports Bay Area has learned, and this isn’t necessarily just to provide a send-off like the Giants did with Sergio Romo, at least in the Panda's mind. Sandoval has been telling friends that he feels great and is trying to make a comeback at the age of 37.

Sandoval hasn’t played in the big leagues since 2021, when he hit .178 with four homers for the Atlanta Braves. He played for two different organizations in Mexico the next year, and last fall he briefly played in a league in Dubai.

Sandoval has had two stints with the Giants totaling 1,149 games, but it's an extreme long shot that he’s able to add to that number. He mostly played first base when he was with the Giants in 2020, and the roster is a little short on left-handed options there, enough that the coaches have asked Blake Sabol to take grounders this spring.

But LaMonte Wade Jr. and Wilmer Flores are set for most of the time at first and there's a crowd at third base. J.D. Davis, David Villar and Casey Schmitt all can play there and the Giants still might add an infielder, with Matt Chapman being an obvious fit. Jorge Soler, who was taking his physical on Saturday, will get most of the DH at-bats.

Sandoval was at Oracle Park last August for the Mike Murphy ceremony and was much slimmer than in his playing days, and he apparently has continued to work hard through the offseason. At the very least, he should bring another jolt of energy to the clubhouse this spring, and if he can hang around through March, he can play at Oracle Park one last time as Romo did last year.

The Giants also will be able to add to the nostalgia with a nice touch. After Ross Stripling was traded to the A's, they did not reissue No. 48.

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