Pablo Sandoval plans to sign a minor league contract to return to the San Francisco 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. MLB.com first reported Sandoval's pending return.

Sandoval technically will not be free to agree to a deal with a team until noon Friday upon clearing waivers. Giants General Manager Bobby Evans declined to confirm San Francisco's interest in bringing back the Kung Fu 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 Class AAA Sacramento at least initially. He batted .212 with four homers and 12 RBI in 32 games this season for the Boston Red Sox.

The Red Sox released Sandoval on Wednesday when the third baseman didn't report after being designated for assignment last week.

It officially ended the Boston tenure for the slugger, who never was healthy enough to live up to the expectations that came with the $95 million free agent contract he signed in 2014 — bolting the Bay Area shortly after helping the Giants win their third World Series title this decade.

With the Red Sox unable to find a team willing to take on part of his salary, the 2012 World Series MVP for the Giants moved on after a total of 161 games for Boston.

In 2014, Sandoval hit .279 with 16 homers and 73 RBI in 157 regular-season games for the Giants and .366 in the postseason with seven doubles and five RBI, four during the World Series against Kansas City.

Etc.

• Newly acquired outfielder J.D. Martinez was out of the Diamondbacks lineup on Thursday because of a bruised left hand. Martinez was hit by a pitch in his second at-bat Wednesday night.

• The Mets activated reliever Josh Smoker from the disabled list. The hard-throwing lefty had been out more than a month with a strained shoulder.