Sox owner defends Panda's physical condition

Red Sox owner John Henry defends Pablo Sandoval

Sox owner defends Panda's physical condition

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox owner John Henry defended the physical condition of third baseman Pablo Sandoval on Wednesday, noting that the third baseman registered a 17 percent body fat in a team physical earlier this week.

"The only thing I will say is that he came in with a body-fat ratio of 17 percent, substantially down from last year," Henry said. "That's what we were looking for. I don't think you'll ever see a thin Pablo.

"I know the focus is on his weight. But our focus was on his ability to field the ball and throw the ball, hit the ball, and so he has six weeks, as does everyone else, to get in first-class playing shape. That's what Spring Training is about. I have every expectation that he will."

Henry: Sox were too reliant on numbers

Henry was told that Sandoval's body fat was above 20 percent last Spring Training and at the end of the season.

"Not many of us probably have 17 percent body fat," Henry said. "To me, I watched him play third today, and he looked good playing third. He carries a lot of weight. Hopefully that will be addressed during Spring Training."

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Sandoval confident in 2016

Here are some other issues Henry spoke about on Wednesday.

David Ortiz came to Boston a year after Henry's group took over ownership of the team. What has Ortiz meant to the Red Sox?

"He's meant three World Series rings. Last night, we were talking about the '13 postseason, but it wasn't just '13, as you know," Henry said. "He's been the face of this franchise probably more than anybody else since I've been here.

"I think I'm quite sure, pretty sure, that it's going to be his final season. I'm very much looking forward to appreciating him this year."

• As pleased as Henry was to reunite with Dave Dombrowski back in August, the past few months have only reaffirmed to the owner that he put the right person in charge of his baseball operations department.

"When it comes to being a general manager and the position he's in now, he's the whole package," said Henry. "He has tremendous experience, tremendous relationships throughout the whole game. He has resources that other GMs don't necessarily have. He has a leadership skill that has been developed over how long he's been a general manager -- 35 years, 30 years.

"I have tremendous confidence in him, confidence in Mike Hazen and in our baseball ops. He has made adjustments. It hasn't been a revolution. It's been more of an evolution. But he has a different style than we're used to here. I think it's melded very well with the front office."

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