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Giants players have no issues with Sandoval

MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

SAN FRANCISCO -- A handful of Giants sounded poised to welcome Pablo Sandoval back to the organization, assuming the third baseman's anticipated agreement with the club becomes official.

MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez reported Wednesday that Sandoval, 30, would sign a Minor League contract Friday with the Giants, who employed him during his first seven big league seasons. With Sandoval, whom Boston released last Friday, still passing through Major League waivers Thursday, the Giants were not at liberty to discuss him freely.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- A handful of Giants sounded poised to welcome Pablo Sandoval back to the organization, assuming the third baseman's anticipated agreement with the club becomes official.

MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez reported Wednesday that Sandoval, 30, would sign a Minor League contract Friday with the Giants, who employed him during his first seven big league seasons. With Sandoval, whom Boston released last Friday, still passing through Major League waivers Thursday, the Giants were not at liberty to discuss him freely.

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"Pablo Sandoval is not necessarily going to be a Giant," club president and CEO Larry Baer said on KNBR-AM, the team's flagship radio station. "He has to pass waivers and a deal has to be worked out."

"He belongs to the Red Sox as far as I know," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

This didn't stop four Giants from speculating about Sandoval's possible return to the organization. Each was a teammate of Sandoval's when he jumped from San Francisco to Boston as a free agent following the 2014 season.

"I think it's exciting," right fielder Hunter Pence said. "He's done so many amazing things here. He's always been one of those personalities that kind of fits in with the Giants and the Bay Area."

"He had this knack, in big situations, for being able to slow the game down and come up with a big hit or the big play," right-hander George Kontos said.

As an example, Kontos cited Sandoval's ninth-inning RBI double in Game 2 of the 2014 National League Division Series at Washington that tied the score, forced extra innings and led to the Giants' 2-1 victory.

"He had a knack for coming up with a big hit or doing something that nobody expected," Kontos said. "I think that goes to show you what kind of player he is when he's healthy and motivated."

After receiving his five-year, $95 million contract from the Red Sox, Sandoval reported to Spring Training in 2015 and told a Bleacher Report columnist that Bochy and Pence were the only Giants he would miss.

Sandoval's former -- and possibly future -- teammates responded with a collective shrug.

"It doesn't really matter what's been said in the past," catcher Buster Posey said. "We welcome anybody who can help us win games. It's as simple as that."

Said Pence, "I know there's been all sorts of stuff -- I haven't listened or heard all of it -- but I've always enjoyed Pablo. I'm very grateful for the times that we played together and the remarkable things he's done in clutch situations. I enjoyed his playful, creative spirit."

"Regardless of how it ended, I think he was beloved by the fans here," Kontos said. "I think it would be a lot of fun to have Pablo back."

Each Giant cited Sandoval's hunger for success, which the portly switch-hitter must prioritize over his hunger at mealtimes regardless of which team he joins.

"I hope he comes and rakes and we win a World Series," first baseman Brandon Belt said. "I just want to win. If he's a key to that, let's do it."

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

San Francisco Giants, Pablo Sandoval