SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Giants’ third baseman Sandoval delivered parting words to fans on his Instagram account Tuesday morning just hours before meeting the media to discuss his $100 million deal with the Boston Red Sox.

“Leaving the #SFGiants & this city I love is the most difficult decision I have ever made,” Sandoval wrote. “I have grown up w/you, laughed & cried w/you & you have blessed me w your support, friendship & love. It has been an unforgettable @SFGiants career…I will always remember you w love & my heart will always be in #SF.”

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A few hours later, a grinning Panda put on his Red Sox jersey and cap during a press conference introducing him to the local media. He again thanked the Giants for bringing him up as a big leaguer and thanked the fans for their support.

“I want a new challenge. I need a new challenge,” he said during a Fenway Park appearance. “I know that I had a great career in San Francisco. But I’m going to have a new one here.”

Sandoval won three rings and a World Series MVP awared in San Francisco. He is a career .294 hitter who had 16 homers and 73 RBIs in the regular season this year and then hit .366 in the postseason while helping the Giants win their third World Series in five years.

The Giants offered Sandoval the same contract given to Hunter Pence, five years at $90 million.  Sandoval wanted that deal last Spring when Giants were suspicious about Sandoval’s physical condition. But when that offer came after the World Series, Sandoval countered by asking for a seven year deal, according to KPIX 5 Sports Director Dennis O’Donnell.

Sandoval said Boston Veteran David Ortiz gave him advice when he was in the minor leagues that he has carried with him. Having a chance to play with Ortiz, who was the Series MVP in 2013, was a factor that attracted him to Boston.

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“To be Papi’s teammate — 162 games, all that with him — for me, it’s going to be a very exciting time,” said Sandoval, who had dinner with Ramirez on Monday night.

After news of the move became official Monday, the Giants released a statement saying “His connection with Giants fans – young and old – is truly special and he will be greatly missed.”

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