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02/26/10 7:19 PM EST
Sandoval armed with better vision
Giants star now wearing prescription goggles
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- If you thought that Pablo Sandoval had a keen batting eye, wait until this season. It turns out that Sandoval, who hit .330 with 25 home runs last year for the Giants, had diminished vision in his left eye. Sandoval said that this was discovered during an examination last November, though he didn't provide a measurement of his visual acuity. Sandoval now wears prescription goggles on the field. He started doing this during the Venezuelan Winter League, which might partly explain his dominant performance for Magallanes. In 20 regular-season games, Sandoval hit .395 with a .425 on-base percentage and a .604 slugging percentage. He added five home runs in 11 playoff games. "I can see the ball better. It's clearer," Sandoval said Friday. Sandoval has noticed a difference this spring. When he takes batting practice using a machine that spits out colored tennis balls stamped with numbers, the 23-year-old switch-hitter can identify both the number and the color. Previously, Sandoval could distinguish only the color. "I'm so comfortable," Sandoval said. Oddly, with his left eye as his lead eye, Sandoval hit .379 (55-for-145) as a right-handed batter last year, compared to .314 (134-for-427) from the left-handed side.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.