3rd baseman Pablo Sandoval returning to San Francisco Giants

This is an undated image of MLB player Pablo Sandoval. (KGO-TV )

Third baseman Pablo Sandoval has signed a minor league deal that sends him back to the San Francisco Giants.

The Kung Fu Panda is coming home for a fresh start - and Brandon 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."

The former Giants star is en route to San Francisco after his release from theBoston Red Soxon Wednesday.

Sandoval, who will turn 31 in August, will take a physical for the Giants then begin playing in Triple-A Sacramento, the reports said.

With the Red Sox unable to find a team willing to take on part of his salary, Sandoval moved on after 161 games, 575 at-bats, 136 hits and 14 homers for Boston -- but not a single one of them in the postseason.

He'll now rejoin the reorganization he helped to World Series titles in 2010, 2012 and 2014.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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