Hard to figure out where to categorize this story about A’s pitcher Jesse Hahn. On the one hand, it’s a story about how a player packed on muscle in the offseason as a means of atoning for some shortcomings the previous year and that’s right up in BSOHL territory.
On the other hand, it’s coming late — rare are the non-winter/spring training BSHOL stories — and it’s even possible that he’s in worse actual shape now that he has given up his previous regimen of cardio work in the interest of bacon and eggs and meat for dinner every night.
Either way, go read Jane Lee’s profile of Hahn’s offseason weight gain and keep it in mind as we count his innings this season.
This could be a Best Shape of His Life story. Hard to say. But Mark Teixeira is certainly feeling better than he has in a long while:
New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira is now gluten free, sugar free and dairy free, which he hopes will keep him injury free.
Teixeira’s belief in his new diet and renewed weightlifting program makes him believe that he can stay fully healthy for the first time since 2011. If he does, Teixeira thinks he can be a 30-homer and 100-RBI player again . . . “The way I feel now, I feel like a kid again. I feel like I did a few years ago when I was hitting 30-plus homers and driving in 100 RBIs, playing almost every single day.
He has gained 13 pounds of muscle and eliminated body fat, he says. Given that his injuries the past two season have mostly stemmed from a freak swing during spring training 2013 that caused a wrist injury I’m not sure that being in shape has a ton to do with things, but given all the time off he’s had and the two extra years on the odometer, being in shape is obviously a good idea.
Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News reports:
Shortstop Elvis Andrus on Monday surged to the lead for most times invoking the spring training cliché “best shape of my career” by a Ranger.
One thing. Andrus appeared to be telling the truth . . . He joined a group of about a dozen teammates who religiously worked out daily at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. He took up yoga and Pilates to increase his flexibility.
The difference is striking. Andrus dropped about 12 pounds and lost the puffy look to his face. He energetically bounced around the field during an informal workout that included seven projected starting position players.
Andrus hit a poor .263/.314/.333 last season and saw his stolen base success rate fall to 64 percent. He signed an eight-year, $120 million contract extension in April 2013.
(Thanks to Emily for the heads up)
Joe Blanton retired — practically speaking anyway — last season. But he’s making a comeback with the Royals this spring. And ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick has a story about him today. Guess what?
Blanton, 34, weighed more than 250 pounds early in his career. But he’s in stunningly good shape this spring and reported to Surprise weighing in the range of 215 to 220 pounds. He also pronounced himself emotionally and mentally reinvigorated by a summer away from the game.
Hmm . . . “stunningly good shape?” Is that — could that be . . . ?
Blanton is 34 years old and has a combined 5.09 ERA in 541 innings dating back to 2010, so any edge he can get will be helpful. Good luck, Joe.
You can add another name to the growing list …
David Freese reported to spring training Saturday with a new physique and a quiet confidence.
The former is the result of a strength-and-conditioning program that helped the Angels third baseman “redistribute” the 220 pounds on his 6-foot-2 frame, adding muscle and losing fat.
“I can’t explain it,” Freese told Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. “I just know that now, things are different. I’m excited to be back here and to get to work. I’m glad I’m an Angel. They’re going to be glad I’m still an Angel. I’m confident of that.”
Freese, 31, batted just .260/.321/.383 in his first season with Anaheim. He is entering a contract year.