I Hate Spring Training

PHOENIX -- Rich Harden reported ship-shape, 100 percent, raring to go. He says he is prepared to put in the full season his injuries have prevented him from doing the past three years.
Molina arrived at spring training Wednesday, a day before Cardinals pitchers and catchers report. And, in the words of his pitching coach, he "looked great, doesn't he?" The 25-year-old catcher not only sports fresh ink on a four-year contract but also a slimmer, lighter build.
Reliever Ray King arrived in camp in the best shape of his life. He lost 23 pounds and hardly has a gut. King decided to stay away from junk food and sodas and start working out with son. He said instead of going to In-N-Out Burger, King ate salmon instead.
After playing at least 137 games for six straight years, Edmonds has been limited to 117 or fewer in each of the last two seasons because of injury. But Towers believes the 37-year-old Edmonds is capable of returning to form.

"When healthy, this guy is a very productive player," Towers said. "We certainly did our due diligence and talked to people who knew him. He said this is the best shape he's been in his career. He wants to play in 150 to 160 games."

"I've had a lot of time to think," Sanchez said Tuesday. "Last summer, all I could do was watch. I kept thinking, 'That should be me on TV. I have what it takes. Why waste it?' Wasting the year wasn't right. I feel I let everybody down -- my teammates, the manager, the coaches. Now I'm in the best shape of my life. I haven't looked like this since I was 19. Everybody can see it. I feel great. I'm ready to do whatever they want me to do."
The player who led a charmed baseball life as a Brave has felt anything but for three years. He'd been traded once and released twice, and now he is trying to make his former club as a backup catcher.

At 37, Lopez is in the best shape of his life, trying to resurrect a career that went skidding off the tracks after one good year in Baltimore.

After Bell was released by the Single-A Lansing Lugnuts (Toronto Blue Jays), he played in Single-A short season in Washington state trying to get back into catching shape.

From there Bell traveled to Arizona for the Instructional League from mid-September to mid-October.

"It was a crazy year to say the least," Bell said. "But, I've lost 10 pounds, and I'm in the best shape possible."

"Really, I blame myself because it took me however long to get this wakeup call," said Anderson, who has yet to face live pitching, but said he's swinging pain-free in regard to a left-wrist injury that ended his 2007 season on July 6. "I'm in the best shape of my life and I have confidence in my hitting.
"I just met with our conditioning coach, Allen Thomas, and I'm very encouraged by his report," Williams said. "Not only are guys like Jermaine Dye, Paul Konerko, Jim Thome and even A.J. [Pierzynski] coming to camp in the best shape of their career, but they also are coming in with that edge.
--LF Carl Crawford might report to spring training in the best shape of his career based on a more extensive, and intensive, workout regimen. Crawford and LHP Scott Kazmir share an agent, and word from Brian Peters is that Crawford has increased his workouts and improved his diet. "He's always in tip-top shape," Kazmir said, "but he always wants to get better."
Nix prepared for this opportunity by training at sprinter Michael Johnson's facility in Texas. Johnson was once one of the fastest men in the world. Who better to help Nix stop the clock ticking in his head?

"I am in the best shape I can be," Nix said. "To finally get this chance is something I am excited about."

Sweeney hopes to sign with a team soon -- perhaps next week -- but says his future remains uncertain. His health, often a factor in recent years, does not fall into the uncertain category, though.

"My back is great and my knee is just fine," he said. "I'm probably in the best shape of my career."

Barry Zito will carry a lot less weight to spring training this week, figuratively and literally. He has lost 10 pounds, reduced his body fat by 5 percent and shed some of the baggage he carried to his first Giants spring training last year as the highest-paid pitcher in baseball.
"Did you lose more weight?" they asked.

Yes, the 21-year-old would nod with a smile. Hernandez says he's down to 218 pounds, nine less than last February, when his weight loss generated headlines across baseball.

Quinlan plays first base, third base, outfield and designated hitter for the Angels. He has shed 12 pounds and is down to 208.

"I didn't feel I needed the extra weight, and I'm faster," he said. "And I'm just as strong as before, too."

Posada started his workouts at the Yanks' complex on Jan.26. He worked out much of the offseason in New York with Dana Cavalea, the Yanks' strength coach, and concentrated on trying to stay below 218 pounds, the weight he tries to be under every offseason.

"I'm right at 217 now," Posada said, laughing. "I'm like a boxer, just waiting for the weigh-in day."

One of Bonser's biggest problems was an inability to last deep into outings, failing many times to pitch past the fifth or sixth inning. The Twins issued a challenge to him to lose weight and Bonser arrived at TwinsFest having dropped close to 25 pounds. The hope now is that carries over to the mound and any improvement would be a huge boon for the club.
"I know what it's going to take for me to have to stay on the team this year," said Buchholz. "A lot of hard work and dedication goes into being prepared for 162 games and that was my offseason this year, that was [what] I put all the dedication toward. I think I'm right at 191 [pounds] right now actually. It's better than the 178 I was last year."
Just a little over a year removed from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery, Liriano was on hand this weekend for the club's annual TwinsFest. And he said Saturday that he'll be ready to go for the start of Spring Training.

"Everything feels good -- no pain, no soreness," Liriano said. "Now I'm just waiting to get started."
...
The entire process has changed Liriano's preparation. He's now included a daily strength training regimen as part of his workouts. It's helped to strengthen the muscles in his shoulder, considered to be a factor in his elbow problems, and has helped him add close to 20 pounds to his 6-foot-2 frame.

"I'm working harder," Liriano said. "Before this, I didn't work out. Now I'm doing whatever I can to keep my shoulder strong."

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Gary Sheffield gave the best possible answer Tuesday to one of the Tigers' big questions of spring training.

Sheffield said he is swinging the bat "pain-free."

In fact, with the Yankees' position players scheduled to report to Tampa in about three weeks, Damon acknowledged that he is 12 pounds over the team's prescribed weight for him. Damon did not sound like he expected to shed a dozen pounds, either.

"I tried running," Damon said. "I ran for three days and I gained five pounds. Go figure. That was the end of that."

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