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.
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“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. “