Sandoval leaves Giants for WBC after first spring HR
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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Pablo Sandoval hit his first spring home run in the Giants’ split squad 9-7 win over the Chicago Cubs Saturday and is now set to lend his services to the Venezuelan World Baseball Classic team.

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Sandoval golfed a breaking ball well over the right-field fence at Scottsdale Stadium in his second and final at-bat of the afternoon for a solo home run that raised his spring average to .500 (7-for-14).

Before joining his Venezuelan team, which will include Giants teammate Marco Scutaro and 2012 Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera, Sandoval talked about how he’s been preparing for the international tournament since the Giants’ World Series run ended.

“One of the things when I went to play winter ball was try to get ready for the [WBC],” Sandoval said, according to MLB.com. “I wanted to be ready to show my country that I’m ready for it 100 percent.”

Sandoval was at risk of a Bruce Bochy-mandated benching for the Cactus League opener if he didn’t make an unannounced weight, but surprised his manager on the scale and proceeded to collect three hits in his first four exhibition at-bats.

Now Sandoval is heading to the WBC and hoping to celebrate a different type of world championship on his home field of AT&T Park, where the finals are scheduled to take place on March 18.

“It’s going to be fun,” Sandoval told MLB.com. “A lot of stuff happened for me on that field, the [World Series] championship and [maybe] playing in the finals for the [World Baseball Classic].”

To get back to AT&T Park before his Giants teammates return from Arizona, Sandoval will have to lead his Venezuelan team out of a dangerous Group C pool that includes the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Spain.

Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico will play host to the first Group C game between Venezuela and the Dominican Republic on March 7.