The latest “Inside the Clubhouse” episode just taped here at AT&T. The star – no surprise- was Pablo Sandoval, who shared the stage with Nate Scheirholtz, batting coach Bam-Bam Meulens, trainer Dave Groeschner and host Greg Papa.
Pablo, as you know, is one of those guys who are born to live in the spotlight. As he said when an audience member asked if he set goals for each season, “I just go play and have some fun.”
He did, however, reveal one goal for 2010. Having lost around 12 pounds so far in the off-season, he wants to steal more bases. So when Greg Papa joked about going for 20-20 (home runs and stolen bases), Pablo nodded.
“That’s my one goal,” he said. “I told Groesch. Twenty-twenty.”
I asked him afterward if he was serious. “Yeah, I think I can do it,” he said.
He confirmed that he had gained just a pound during his time in Venezuela playing winter ball and eating his mother’s cooking.
“One pound, and it’s muscle!” he said.
He also returned to the states with a new look – a Mohawk. He joked with Groeschner on stage that he ought to get one, too.
“Take us to the World Series,” Groeschner said, “and I’ll do it.”
When Meulens talked about getting players to be more patient at the plate, he clarified that he was basically leaving Pablo alone. “I’d be crazy to mess with him,” Meulens said. But Pablo said that wasn’t true.
“This year I’m going to be different,” Pablo said. “I’m going to be more patient. I’ve been working on it in winter ball with Bam-Bam.”
The result? He hit .395 in the regular season and .477 in the playoffs.
“I want to narrow his zone,” Meulens said, “but I don’t want to take away his aggressiveness.”
Schierholtz also is making a big change at the plate: He is wearing batting gloves for the first time in his life.
“I never used them growing up,” he said. “Just grabbed a little dirt and go. But in Puerto Rico (in winter ball), I had 75 at-bats with gloves. I’m getting used to them slowly. I’ve gone through a lot of different brands to get the ones I want.”
He’s also been working on recognizing pitchers more successfully and working within his own strike zone. He hopes it will produce more home runs.
“I have more power than what I’ve shown,” he said.
When asked if he had superstitions, Nate said he eats the same thing every day if he’s on a streak.
“Cheetos,” he said, smiling, “have a lot of hits in them.”
Pablo, sitting next to Nate, smiled and raised his eyebrow, stealing a glance at his trainer.
“There are a lot of hits in bananas, too,” Groeschner said.
Photos from Inside the Clubhouse:
Greg Papa, Pablo Sandoval, Dave Grosechner
Greg Papa, Nate Schierholtz, Pablo Sandoval, Hensley Muelens, Dave Groeschner