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Uh.... Pudge dropped lots of poundage


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Less Pudgy Rodriguez arrives

Catcher reports to Spring Training 20 pounds lighter

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

 

 

Ivan Rodriguez takes a swing in the batting cage on Friday in Lakeland, Fla. (Duane Burleson/AP)

 

 

 

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Ivan Rodriguez has just about shed his nickname. Literally.

On Ivan Rodriguez's first day at Spring Training, the big question was whether the Tigers' All-Star catcher would address Jose Canseco's accusations from his new book and multiple television interviews. By the time Rodriguez finished talking with reporters, that was back-page news to the fact that there was a lot less Pudge to go around.

 

He's lost more than a few vanity pounds. Through what Rodriguez called a change in his offseason workout routine crafted by personal trainer Steve Odgers, Pudge reported to camp barely fitting that moniker. He said he now weighs around 193 pounds, more than 20 pounds under his playing weight last season and matching his weight when he broke into the Majors at age 19 in 1990. He wants to start the season between 195 and 200 pounds.

 

By all appearances, he isn't exaggerating. He looked more like a third baseman than a catcher as he took batting practice swings off pitchers Friday afternoon on practice fields. More importantly, he doesn't feel like an aging catcher.

 

"I've got a new program," Rodriguez said. "I'm running a lot of sprints on the track and changed my program a little bit. I'm watching my eating a little bit. I feel in great shape.

 

"I feel better like that. I just want to feel lighter. I know I've been in baseball a long time and catching a lot of years, so the more I take care of myself now, the better."

 

The new figure got a big reaction around the clubhouse, especially from former Tigers catcher and still strong bullpen coach Lance Parrish. "I told him speed is my game," Parrish joked. "Maybe he'll catch up to me."

 

The surprise over how much trimmer Rodriguez looked actually overshadowed the questions about his past bulk. Basically repeating what he told a Puerto Rican newspaper last week, Pudge dismissed comments from ex-teammate Jose Canseco that Rodriguez used steroids during their time together in Texas.

 

"There's some very serious comments he said. This is not true," Rodriguez said. "I just say what I feel. I have no need to use any of that stuff. I don't need it. I've been in baseball for 14 years not using that. I don't need it. The comments he said are not true. I'm just going to move on and concentrate on this coming season."

 

He wouldn't cite anything specific from last season that he wanted to concentrate on improving as motivation for his change, but it isn't difficult to see where less Pudge would help Rodriguez. Though he won his 11th Gold Glove last season, he admitted he wasn't happy with his defensive performance, especially in terms of blocking balls in the dirt. His performance both at and behind the plate also declined from the first half to the second, and he missed short stints of games with various injuries. Combined with a similar fade in Florida in 2003, he's gained the reputation for tiring down the stretch.

 

"It's just time for me to take care of myself," Rodriguez said. "I'm not 25 years old anymore. As long as I feel like this and I weigh this weight, I can play a lot of years."

 

He could also end up playing a lot more this year than many expected. As last season drew to a close, manager Alan Trammell repeatedly said he planned on resting Rodriguez more often in 2005. It ended up being part of the motivation behind Detroit's trade for veteran backup Vance Wilson over the winter, freeing up Brandon Inge to play every day at third.

 

"Everybody has good months and bad months," Pudge said. "Everybody's talking about August or whatever. That's baseball. Baseball is like that. It's impossible to hit .500 every month."

 

Now, Trammell believes he could play Pudge as often as last season, when he totaled 124 games at catcher and 135 games total. He learned about the workouts in January after Rodriguez called him for an update on the club's player movement.

 

"That's his call," Trammell said. "He knows his body. I just think [he did it] for agility. He's a guy who's been doing this kind of training for years."

 

Pudge won't give a target for games played, but his reluctance to sit out games was well-known last season. That likely hasn't changed. "If I'm healthy," he said, "I'm going to play every day."

 

If he stays at this weight, though, he's still going to answer to Pudge. "Whatever you want to call me," he smiled. "Whatever you call me, I'll answer."

 

isnt that something? :whistle

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He won't be the only former user to lose a lot of weight.

 

I can't wait to start hearing all these guys talk about "cleaning up their diet" and all that BS.

690072[/snapback]

 

You mean you can't lose 30 pounds in four months just because you're on an improved diet?

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He won't be the only former user to lose a lot of weight.

 

I can't wait to start hearing all these guys talk about "cleaning up their diet" and all that BS.

690072[/snapback]

 

You mean you can't lose 30 pounds in four months just because you're on an improved diet?

690079[/snapback]

 

:lol exactly....

 

Yeah, Jason Giambi lost 45 pounds last offseason by cutting out the McDonalds.

 

 

:notworthy :lol

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It's true. Here's a photo I shot today during my trip to Tigertown (Lakeland, FL):

 

 

 

A lot of the folks gathered there noted the loss of weight as well.

690172[/snapback]

 

He's practically smaller than I am, geez.

 

But no reason to be suspecious, and Jose Canseco is a liar.

 

:rolleyes:

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