The final day of the 2011 season, Seattle Mariners manager Eric Wedge challenged first baseman Justin Smoak for a commitment to a winter of hard work, a call the 25-year-old answered.
“I weighed 225 at the end of last season, I weigh anywhere between 220-225 now,” the Seattle Mariners first baseman said.
Smoak looks leaner, stronger, more athletic.
“I gave up bread, ate almost entirely meat and vegetables – and working out two hours a day, four days a week didn’t hurt,” Smoak said. “My wife loved it, because she always ate well and worked out.
“I’ve been here three days, hitting in the cage,” Smoak said. “I don’t know that the ball is going any further when I hit it, but I know I’m in much better shape. This is how I was in college.”
That was in South Carolina, where he was Player of the Year in both 2004 and 2005. As a college player, Smoak batted .333 and set school record for home runs (62) and RBI (207). A switch-hitter obtained from Texas in the 2010 trade of Cliff Lee, Smoak gave up two great loves for baseball.
“I gave up Mexican food – man, I could crush burritos,” he said. “And pizza. I coul crush those, too. “