He showed up at the Giants' spring camp a few days ago after a winter of rejuvenation in his native Venezuela. He refined his nutritional intake, got in shape and played a little ball in the Venezuelan Winter League. The result is a noticeable weight loss.
How much is up for debate—he would not divulge how much he has dropped when he met with the media. He has been listed at 240. He said reports that the weight loss reached 40 pounds were incorrect.
As for what is behind the transformation --he had a similar one between 2010 and 2011 - Sandoval said it doesn't necessarily have anything do to with the fact that his three-year, $17.15 million deal expires after the season.
Sandoval said he would be open to discussing an extension before the season begins. General Manager Brian Sabean indicated recently the Giants also might be willing to make something happen.
"I'm not going to say no. If it happens, it happens," Sandoval said.
At 27, he is entering his prime.
"I'm happy with myself and want to come out and show my talents," he said after hitting .278 with 14 home runs and 79 RBIs in 2013, a year in which he spent some time on the disabled list.
"People say I can do a lot better. I just want to show that I have grown up and that I take my job seriously. But I really don't care what other people say."
Unless those other people happen to be teammates.
Sandoval said he talked to a handful of teammates toward the end of last season about his approach. They included starting pitcher Matt Cain, catcher Buster Posey and outfielder Hunter Pence.
"I feel blessed to hear from those guys. When a former MVP (Posey) says something, you listen," Sandoval said.
Pence said he did not speak his mind in a critical tone.
"I don't think I got on him. I just encouraged him. He's the one who did all the work," Pence said. "We're just thrilled to see him come in at the weight he has."
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he also talked to Sandoval at the end of the season.
"Sometimes it's like being a parent," Bochy said. "You tell one of your kids something, and it goes in one ear and out the other. Sometimes it means more coming from a peer.
"He knows that he can do many things on the baseball field. He has to be consistent, have discipline every day. It is easier when you were 21-22-23 years old and now you have to put more work into it."
NOTES: A portion of the pitchers did some conditioning and threw bullpen sessions on Saturday. Most of the others, including starters Tim Hudson and Tim Lincecum and closer Sergio Romo, will take their turns on Sunday. "No radar guns, just working on stuff," Bochy said . . . Posey and the catchers also were able to take a few hacks in the batting cage . . . Pence said most of the players are coming to camp with an edge. "We don't believe what happened last year is who we are," he said . . . the team has announced that beginning this (regular) season, all fans entering AT&T Park will be screened with metal detectors. This complies with Major League Baseball's mandate that all teams begin using metal detectors by the start of the 2015 season.