3/10 Big Z & the Giants' Panda

Carlos Zambrano served up a grand slam to San Francisco’s Pablo Sandoval in the third inning Wednesday. Was Zambrano looking forward to facing Sandoval when the games count?

“When it counts,” Zambrano said with a smile. “Do you know how many home runs Barry Bonds hit off me? One. In Spring Training.”

Zambrano knows Sandoval well. They’re both from Puerto Cabello, Venezuela.

“I’ve been watching him since he was 7, 8 years old,” Zambrano said of the Giants third baseman. “I know that guy has something special. He used to play for a good team in Venezuela in my town. You should’ve seen the guy when he was 13, 12, 11 years old. You can see the talent of any young kid when they’re growing up. He’ll be good, he’ll be one of the best hitters in the National League.”

Sandoval would play for the team sponsored by PDVSA, a state-owned petroleum company. Zambrano saw him because the son of his friend, Julio Figueroa, played on the same team. Sandoval reminds Big Z of Cecil Fielder.

“It doesn’t matter how big you are,” Zambrano said. “You have to be able to stay in the big leagues and do your job. Give him credit.”

— Carrie Muskat

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