Panda defends conditioning, says he feels 'great'

Reporter who tweeted unflattering pic challenged to watch him work out

Panda defends conditioning, says he feels 'great'

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- New Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval was animated on Saturday afternoon about an unflattering picture and tweet that was posted earlier in the week.

"I'm ready," said Sandoval. "I've been working out. Everybody's been posting pictures about me. I don't care."

In truth, Sandoval did seem to care, which is why he brought it up without being prompted.

On Tuesday, Sandoval's first day of camp, Steve Silva of Boston.com posted a picture of the veteran slouching back a little at third base with his stomach sticking outward.

The kicker was the caption that accompanied the tweet: "Safe to say Pablo Sandoval didn't miss too many meals this offseason [cough]."

"I love it," said Sandoval. "I'm making fun of the guy who put the picture out there. I'm making fun of him because I want him to spend one day with me to see how hard I work, so I'm ready."

Sandoval has long heard criticism about his weight.

"I love it. I love it. Motivate me to work hard and show him to keep his mouth shut. That's what I do," said Sandoval.

How does the Kung Fu Panda feel at the outset of camp?

"I feel great," Sandoval said. "Powerful, so, that's the thing I've been working on."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.