Before this season Nationals outfielder Roger Bernadina was mostly known for big muscles and small production at the plate, but now he’s hitting .308 with an .800 OPS in 103 games as part-time player.
His muscles, however, haven’t changed, as teammate Chad Tracy explained to James Wagner of the Washington Post:
The guy is a Greek god. I’ve played against him but you don’t realize how solid he is until you see him with his shirt off. He’s pretty humble. If I had that body, I’d never have clothes on.
Wagner details how Bernandina got into such impressive shape and also gets some quotes from manager Davey Johnson about how the outfielder changed his approach at the plate too.
Not all players coming in to spring training are in The Best Shapes of Their Lives. Some have put on a few pounds, such as Miguel Sano, notes Twins GM Thad Levine:
Sano has been given medical clearance to engage in all baseball workouts with his teammates, his surgically reinforced left shin now completely healed, though the Twins intend to lighten his schedule to prevent any new injuries.
They’d like to lighten something else, too: His “generous carriage,” as General Manager Thad Levine delicately put it last week. Sano’s conditioning understandably lags, after a winter largely spent incapacitated by the surgery.
Sano’s conditioning has often been a topic of conversation among the members of the Minnesota press corps, though not always in good faith. For example, last year when Sano injured his shin by fouling a ball off of it, one member of the The Fourth Estate found a way to make a column out of blaming the freak injury on Sano’s conditioning. At least in this instance his colleague is correctly noting that the poor conditioning is a result of the injury and not the cause.
Still, it’s just another issue facing Sano this spring. He’s out of shape, coming off of an injury, and — not that he’s due any sympathy for it — he’s facing a likely suspension arising out of the allegations of sexual assault leveled against him late last year.
So this spring we’ll be seeing more of Sano, it seems. At least until that time we’ll be seeing less of him.