Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Aaron Sanchez (41) throws against the Texas Rangers during the eighth inning in Game 4 of baseball's American League Division Series Monday, Oct. 12, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Associated Press

Aaron Sanchez is in the Best Shape of His Life

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The Blue Jays’ Aaron Sanchez started out the season in the rotation and did pretty well over the course of 11 starts, but following a lat injury he moved to the bullpen. Now that the Jays have bulked up the bullpen, however, Sanchez is bulking up himself in order to make it back to the rotation.

Speaking with reporters at a fan event yesterday, a visibly larger Sanchez said that he has gained 25 pounds of muscle since the offseason began, thanks to workouts with Marcus Stroman. He was at 190, now he’s at 215, and the idea is for him to be stronger and have more endurance so he can stick at the back end of the Jays’ rotation. As Stroman said yesterday, “we didn’t work out twice a day for two months for him to be a reliever.” While Sanchez never claimed literal Best Shape of His Life status, the “show up at the first media event in January and talk up one’s offseason fitness regimen” is quintessential BSOHL behavior.

He’ll need more than just his strength to do it, however, as there are a lot of bodies, buff or otherwise, ahead of him. Joining Stroman on the starting pitching depth chart right now is R.A. Dickey, Marco Estrada, J.A. Happ, Jesse Chavez and Drew Hutchinson. Figure Sanchez will be in the mix with Chavez and Hutchison for the fifth spot, with the losers serving as swingmen, spot starters and, inevitably, injury replacements. Or figure on a trade during spring training.

But let no one say that Sanchez can’t make the rotation due to concerns about his durability. For that is exactly what he sought to address this winter, both in actual terms via his workout, and via his claim yesterday afternoon.

(thanks to Proudly Canadian for the heads up)

Wil Myers is in The Best Shape of His Life

Wil Myers
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Pretty big 24 hours for Wil Myers.

Yesterday he was one of the guys trotted out onto that aircraft carrier to unveil the Padres new camo uniforms. Today his team traded away Yonder Alonso which, one assumes, means that Myers will now be the Padres’ full-time first baseman. Which is something he prefers.

And, based on his conversation with Dennis Lin of the Union-Tribune, he is officially the first Best Shape of His Life All-Star of the 2015-16 offseason:

 

It’s rare that you see one of these before the Winter Meetings, but Myers is gettin’ at it.

Jesse Hahn may be in The Best Shape of His Life

Jesse Hahn
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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.

Mark Teixeira is in The Best Shape of His Life

Mark Teixeira
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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.

Elvis Andrus is in The Best Shape of his Life

Elvis Andrus
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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)