Officials: Evidence lacking to arrest Giants' Sandoval

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SAN FRANCISCO — Investigators say there is not enough evidence to arrest San Francisco Giants slugger Pablo Sandoval for an alleged sexual assault at a hotel near Santa Cruz.

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San Francisco Giants' Pablo Sandoval, right, is greeted by Angel Pagan after hitting a two-run home run off Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher A.J. Burnett during the seventh inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, July 8, 2012. The Pirates won 13-2. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)  Gene J. Puskar
Gene J. Puskar
San Francisco Giants' Pablo Sandoval, right, is greeted by Angel Pagan after hitting a two-run home run off Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher A.J. Burnett during the seventh inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, July 8, 2012. The Pirates won 13-2. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

The Santa Cruz County Sherriff’s Office completed its investigation Thursday and forwarded the case to the district attorney’s office. No charges are expected.

A 21-year-old woman who lives in Santa Cruz County filed a sexual assault complaint against the All-Star third baseman and former Augusta GreenJacket on June 1.

The woman told investigators she met a small group of people in Santa Cruz and went to a resort in nearby Aptos, where she said she was assaulted.

Sandoval was contacted at the resort by detectives and cooperated in the investigation.

Sandoval’s attorney, Eric Geffon, had previously called the encounter a “consensual, personal relationship of a sexual nature.” In a statement released Thursday, Geffon said: “The Sherriff’s Department has completed a thorough and professional investigation and we are pleased that they have concluded that there is insufficient evidence to support an arrest. Pablo will continue to focus on helping the Giants towards a playoff run this season.”

The Giants have a major investment in the player nicknamed “Kung Fu Panda” for his powerful swing and portly presence.

The switch-hitter received a $17.15 million, three-year contract last winter. He lost about 40 pounds through a strict workout regimen two off-seasons ago to bring him down to around 240 pounds, then batted .315 with 23 home runs and 70 RBI in 2011.

Sandoval missed more than a month this season after he had surgery May 4 to remove a broken hamate bone in his left hand. He is batting .307 with eight home runs and 30 RBI.

Sandoval also made his second consecutive All-Star appearance and first as a starter this week. He hit the first bases-loaded triple in All-Star history off Detroit ace Justin Verlander to highlight a five-run first inning that propelled the National League to an 8-0 victory over the American League.

San Francisco is a half-game behind the rival Los Angeles Dodgers for first place in the NL West. The Giants return to play tonight at home against Houston.

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