The “Kung Fu Panda” is back—but these days, he's looking more like a leopard.
Rewind back to spring training for the 2016 season, when Boston Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval earned some scorn for showing up to camp overweight—it was hard to miss his belly hanging out of his shirt everywhere he went—and ultimately played only three games in a disappointing season. The only "highlight" from Sandoval’s season was an embarrassing one: He literally broke out of his pants while playing against the Toronto Blue Jays.
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) February 21, 2016
Now? What a difference a year makes.
In a recent photo tweeted by Dan Roche, a sports reporter with Boston WBZ-TV, Sandoval is looking anything but panda-sized:
— Dan Roche (@RochieWBZ) December 6, 2016
Sandoval has been a disappointment for the Red Sox since signing a five-year, $95 million contract in 2015, but clearly the third baseman got the message about being in shape after his issues last year. Plus, he has some experience in this area: When he was with the San Francisco Giants, Sandoval engineered a similarly impressive body transformation.
Red Sox management appears to be impressed too. Roche quoted Red Sox President of Operations Dave Dombrowski saying that Sandoval looked to be in “tremendous shape,” while skipper John Farrell said that he has “to commend [Sandoval] for the work he’s put in.” Their confidence in Sandoval's transformation is likely one of the main reasons the team felt comfortable trading their starting third baseman in 2016, Travis Shaw, to the the Milwaukee Brewers.
Want to see more shocking athlete body transformations? Check out 10 other sports stars who went from fat to fit.