Panda out: Giants release fan favorite Sandoval

MLB

The San Francisco Giants on Thursday requested release waivers on longtime infielder Pablo Sandoval.

Sandoval’s release marks the second time this season the Giants have parted ways with a struggling fan favorite. The Giants released outfielder Hunter Pence in August after designating him for assignment.

Sandoval, 34, who was in his second stint with the Giants, is hitting .220 with one home run and six RBIs this season.

In an Instagram post, Sandoval wrote that, “it’s been an honor and privilege to play for you. My heart will forever be in San Francisco.”

He rejoined the Giants in 2017 after he was released by the Boston Red Sox, just three seasons into a five-year, $95 million contract he signed after the 2014 season.

Sandoval hit just .237 with 14 home runs and 59 RBIs in Boston. He hit just .225 and .248 in 2017 and ’18 with the Giants but rebounded last season when he hit .268 with 14 home runs an 41 RBIs.

In his first seven seasons with the Giants, Sandoval, nicknamed the “Kung Fu Panda,” was a two-time All-Star and won three World Series titles with the San Francisco. In 2012 he was named World Series MVP after hitting .500 with three home runs and four RBIs in the Giants’ four-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers.

In other moves Thursday, the Giants recalled infielder Justin Smoak to the major league roster and reinstated left-hander Drew Smyly from the 10-day injured list. Right-hander Rico Garcia was optioned to the team’s alternate training site.

The Giants, winners of five straight, have moved into playoff positioning with a 23-21 record entering Thursday’s games.

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