Sandoval to sign minor league deal with Giants

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Brandon Belt expects Panda-monium in San Francisco once more.

Pablo Sandoval plans to sign a minor league contract to return to the Giants, a person with knowledge of his intentions said Thursday. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the agreement had not been announced. That should happen Friday.

The Kung Fu Panda is coming home for a fresh start — and Belt is convinced the 2012 World Series MVP will be a fan favorite again.

"He was a big part of our World Series runs, so I think he's always going to have a place here in San Francisco and everybody's going to love that he's back," Belt, San Francisco's first baseman, said while walking into the ballpark Thursday. "I haven't seen him in a while, so I don't know. I think he was definitely a fan favorite, so I don't think there's going to be any problem with that."

Sandoval technically will not be free to agree to a deal with a team until 1 p.m. EDT on Friday upon clearing waivers. Giants general manager Bobby Evans declined to confirm San Francisco's interest in bringing back the once-popular Panda, as he became known and beloved in the Bay Area.

Whether that affection for the burly switch-hitter remains is yet to be seen, and Sandoval is scheduled to play with Triple-A Sacramento at least initially.

World Cup of Tennis put on hold for at least a year

LONDON (AP) — The International Tennis Federation is putting off its proposal for a World Cup of Tennis Finals for another year.

The ITF said last month it wanted to combine next year's Davis Cup and Fed Cup finals into one event to raise the profile of the two national team competitions. But on Thursday, the governing body said it would not put the motion to a vote at its annual general meeting next month in Vietnam.

Other proposals, such as reducing the men's matches to best-of-three sets and possibly skipping the final match of the series if it is already decided, will still go before member nations for ratification at the Aug. 4 meeting in Ho Chi Minh City.

"We promised change and are already delivering change with a significant series of reforms," ITF President David Haggerty said in a statement. "Taking another year to build consensus around the World Cup of Tennis Finals will allow us to finalize an even stronger recommendation to the AGM."

Last month, the ITF said it wanted to start staging the World Cup of Tennis in November 2018 in Geneva. The Swiss city was to host the event for three years at its 18,000-seat Palexpo.

The ITF said then that it had made the announcement of the host city well in advance in an effort to follow the successful model used by the Super Bowl and Champions League final.

But that has now been put on hold as the governing body tries to sell its idea to its voting members.

"This decision shows that we do not act unilaterally," Haggerty said, "and are working with all our stakeholders to find the best solution for tennis."

Haggerty also announced the creation of a World Cup of Tennis Finals task force. Board members Katrina Adams and Bernard Giudicelli have been appointed as co-chairs.

"The World Cup of Tennis Finals will unlock considerable new revenue for investing back into the sport through the ITF's member nations," Haggerty said. "Investment in the development of the next generation remains the priority of the ITF and its national associations."

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