Pablo Sandoval in agreement to re-sign with Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — The prodigal Panda is reportedly coming back to the Giants.

Hours after the Red Sox placed Pablo Sandoval on unconditional release waivers, the third baseman reached an understanding with his former team on a minor league contract, according to multiple reports.

Sandoval is expected to report to Triple-A Sacramento in an attempt to work his way back to the team where he starred for six seasons and won a 2012 World Series MVP award.

Giants GM Bobby Evans said the reports were not accurate because Sandoval hadn’t yet cleared release waivers; claiming Sandoval on waivers would mean assuming the roughly $49.5 million left on his contract.

But while teams cannot make offers until Sandoval is a free agent, they are allowed to express interest. Sources close to Sandoval have been quoted as saying that he would “love” to return to the Giants.

And while it might seem counterintuitive to try to piece together a team that looks more suited to be broken apart, there’s a certain open-mindedness that could benefit the Giants when they consider the prospect of a nearly free 30-year-old player who has a history of success against right-handed pitching when healthy and motivated.

The Giants are also dangerously thin at Sacramento due to call-ups and injuries. Third baseman Christian Arroyo is out for two months with a fractured hand after getting hit by a pitch. If nothing else, Sandoval gives them some organizational depth, with the chance for a comeback tale in the vein of Ryan Vogelsong, Travis Ishikawa and Conor Gillaspie.

Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com was first to report that Sandoval would re-sign with the Giants.

It’s pretty rich, by the way, that the Giants are being cautious about this news breaking before they are allowed to make Sandoval an official offer and would be accused of tampering. Several Giants officials were livid after Sandoval signed with the Red Sox following the 2014 season, believing that David Ortiz and others had actively recruited him in the months before he hit the open market.

Pliskova, Murray lead direct-entry fields for US Open

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — New WTA No. 1 Karolina Pliskova and top-ranked man Andy Murray headline the direct entry lists for the U.S. Open.

Pliskova, the 2016 runner-up at Flushing Meadows, is joined by four past U.S. Open champions: Angelique Kerber, Venus Williams, Sam Stosur and Svetlana Kuznetsova. Other past Grand Slam champions in the field: Garbine Muguruza, Petra Kvitova, Francesca Schiavone, Victoria Azarenka and Jelena Ostapenko.

There are 13 Americans among the 99 women receiving direct entry, more than any other country.

Six-time U.S. Open champion Serena Williams (pregnant) and Bethanie Mattek-Sands (knee surgery) are among the women who will not be competing in New York.

Azarenka, Sloane Stephens, Anna-Lena Friedsam, Alja Tomljanovic and Sabine Lisicki used a special ranking to get into the main draw.

Murray, who won his first major title at the U.S. Open in 2012, is joined by these other past champs in the field: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka, Marin Cilic and Juan Martin del Potro.

Using protected rankings to get in: Andreas Haider-Maurer, Thanasi Kokkinakis, John Millman, Dmitry Tursunov and Ricardas Berankis.

Main-draw play at the U.S. Open begins Aug. 28.

Rockies pummel Padres with 18-4 victory

DENVER (AP) — Nolan Arenado lined three homers as part of his five-hit afternoon and tied a career-high with seven RBIs, helping the Colorado Rockies complete a three-game sweep of the San Diego Padres with an 18-4 victory Wednesday.

Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon also homered on a scorching day when the Rockies had a season-high 21 hits. Gerardo Parra ran his streak of reaching base to 10 straight plate appearances over three games before flying out in the fifth. He finished with four singles.

Arenado had a pair of RBI singles to start the game, followed by solo shots in the fourth and fifth innings, and a three-run homer in the sixth. He had a chance at a fourth homer in the eighth and lined out to left.

Jon Gray (3-1) kept the Padres in check until running out of steam. The right-hander allowed all four of his runs in the sixth — his last inning of work.

Padres starter Clayton Richard (5-10) lasted just 3 2/3 innings and gave up 11 runs, 10 earned, inflating his ERA from 4.75 to 5.35. He also matched a team record by allowing 14 hits.

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