I travelled home to New York this past Tuesday, and will be here until my return to Tampa on Monday. For Christmas, I will be meeting my family in Cancun for weeklong vacation. While on these trips, I will be continuing my workout programs, which have been going on since mid-October. There has been considerable interest among several readers as to what comprises my offseason training regimen. It has been a combination of weight training/conditioning and baseball specific work, which I discuss in detail.
With the exception of some sporadic running, I took four weeks off to rest and recuperate after the season’s conclusion. During this time, I went through a strength evaluation given by Larry Mayol, former athletic trainer for the New York Mets, at his training place in Largo, about a half hour drive from Tampa. Next week, I will start my eleventh week of strength and conditioning training, which I do Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. All of these workouts begin with 15-20 minutes of cardio on a bike, elliptical, or treadmill, and take between two and three hours to finish. Workouts are a combination of machine-based and functional-based exercises, and are designed to promote muscle strength, flexibility, and endurance.
My workout location has several minor and major league players coming in and out, some rehabbing and some preparing for the upcoming season. During or after a workout, I have been playing catch outside of the facility and catching bullpens. During the first few weeks, I was catching Joe Torres, a former draft pick of the Angels who pitched for the AA affiliate of the Chicago White Sox last season, while he prepared to play winter ball in Puerto Rico. Recently, I have been catching for Joey Eischen, a nomadic left-handed reliever with ten years (324 appearances) of major league service with four different organizations (he has played with Montreal and Washington – I count this as one organization). His last major league appearance was in 2006, and he is looking to pitch one more season. So, I have been catching his bullpen workouts and his showings for scouts.
As for the baseball specific workouts, I have been consistently been hitting, throwing, and doing catching drills on Tuesdays and Thursdays with Coach Don Reed in St. Petersburg. Coach Reed is the winningest coach ever in the Cape Cod Collegiate League and I have been working out with him since 2001 (when I would make trips twice a year to St. Petersburg during my high school years and first two years at the University of Rochester). I have put emphasis this offseason on my throwing and hitting mechanics, trying to quicken the throwing and keep my weight back hitting, as well as keeping a firm front side. Those workouts are generally three hours, and will start taking place on Saturdays as well after the New Year.
I will also begin mixing in at The University of Tampa Baseball practices, to get extra hitting and drill work when I need it. Overall, I workout five to six days a week, and this is anywhere from two to five hours a day. Occasionally, I run on my own, just to further my conditioning for the upcoming season. This working out has occurred amidst taking three courses this past semester. I will delve into the academic side of things at a later time. Putting in the hard work in the offseason is what leads to longevity in this game, both during a season, and a career. Our hitting coach from this past season told us toward the end of the season, when we were discussing offseason plans that, our hitting coach, Damon Mashore said something to the effect, ‘Every day you spend not working on one aspect of this game, you slip one day farther away from making it to the top.’ Fortunately, I grasped that concept at an early age, but it still holds true today and I will continue to utilize this in my offseason training approach.