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Dave Dombrowski ‘not concerned’ about Pablo Sandoval’s weight

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Dave Dombrowski (above) said the Red Sox were watching Pablo Sandoval “very closely all winter. We had people with him at least once a week.”
Dave Dombrowski (above) said the Red Sox were watching Pablo Sandoval “very closely all winter. We had people with him at least once a week.”Jim Davis

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Monday that he was not disappointed in the physical condition of third baseman Pablo Sandoval.

"I'm not concerned," Dombrowski told the Globe. "We were watching him very closely all winter. We had people with him at least once a week. The goal was for Pablo to get in better overall condition and I feel like he did improve."

Dombrowski said the Red Sox had realistic expectations for Sandoval and his weight.

"Pablo has the body type he has," said Dombrowski. "He's never going to be svelte. We know that. We wanted him to be prepared for spring training and he is."

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Of greater concern in the short term was the torrent of negative media coverage about Sandoval after his arrival in camp Sunday. Sandoval told reporters that he had nothing to prove after a poor first season in Boston and that losing weight was not a concern.

Dombrowski and manager John Farrell met with Sandoval before Monday's workout at Fenway South to discuss the situation.

Farrell said the comments were misconstrued. Sandoval, he said, meant that he had nothing to prove to the media.

"Pablo cares and he wants to win," Farrell said. "He knows he has something to prove to his teammates and he wants to do that. [Sunday] was unfortunate, but we have to move on from that. We had a good talk."

Dombrowski said that Sandoval has hired a nutritionist who will be with him all season and will work in conjunction with the team's medical staff. Sandoval gained weight over the course of last season, and that is something the Red Sox want to avoid.

"We spoke to him about our expectations for the season," Dombrowski said. "We monitored him in the winter and that will continue."

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Both Dombrowski and Farrell said the initial reports about Sandoval's performance on the field were positive. He has moved well defensively and looks comfortable in the batting cage.

"[Infield instructor] Brian Butterfield told me that Pablo looked light on his feet taking ground balls and was moving well," said Dombrowski. "I think he'll be fine. He has been this size in the past and played well. I can tell you that he worked hard this winter and did what we wanted him to do."

For the Red Sox, there is little choice but to deal with the situation as best they can. Sandoval, 29, is signed for four more seasons and at least $75 million, a contract that is virtually untradeable after his poor performance last season.

Sandoval had the worst season of his eight-year career, hitting .245 with a .658 OPS. He had only 10 home runs and 47 RBIs over 126 games. For the fourth consecutive year, his on-base and slugging percentages declined.

In Travis Shaw and Brock Holt, the Red Sox have two capable backups should Sandoval falter. But for now he is the third baseman.

Sandoval went through an uneventful workout Monday. The official report date for position players is Tuesday and they will receive their physicals.

The rosters handed out by the Red Sox last week listed Sandoval as weighing 255 pounds. Whether the Red Sox adjust that remains to be seen. But Dombrowski is not concerned about an exact number.

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"We never told him to lose a specific amount of weight," said Dombrowski. "We did do that with Hanley [Ramirez] because he was moving back to the infield and he was too bulky last season."

"Pablo was told to be in better condition and he is. We need him to have a good season and he worked hard in the winter."

Sandoval was approached in the clubhouse and asked if he wanted to clarify any of his comments from Sunday. He politely declined.

"I just have to play," he said.


Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.