Third baseman Evan Longoria feels he best serves his team when he's on the field every day.
So in an effort to avoid muscle injuries (hamstring, quadriceps, oblique) that knocked him out of the lineup the last two seasons, Longoria changed his offseason routine to put more of an emphasis on being flexible than being bulked up.
He will come into camp 10-15 pounds lighter than last spring, and he's feeling good about it. "I feel great, so I hope it pays off," he said.
To do so, he parted ways with the Athletes' Performance Institute, where he'd spent the previous two offseasons, and worked out at a smaller facility where he could structure his workouts to include more of an emphasis on flexibility.
"At Athletes' Performance everybody focused on your weight and intake and what you're putting in your body, and there's no right or wrong there, but it just wasn't right for me," he told the Tampa Bay Times.
Longoria didn't do much weight training, focusing instead on plyometrics (muscle stretching and explosiveness) and movement prep, "more strengthening the smaller muscles in my body and not just doing biceps and bench and all the heavy stuff. It's just as intense of a workout. It's just a different workout than you're used to, a lot of core strengthening."
Longoria strained his oblique in the second game of the 2011 season, missed a month and struggled for another couple before having a big second half. He also battled a painful condition in his left foot called a Morton's neuroma that he had surgically removed in early November.
"I don't want to deal with what I had to deal with last year," he said. "I did as much as I could to try and strengthen all those muscles so I'm as close to 100 percent as I could be coming in."
|Alex Cobb was 3-2 in 9 starts with a 3.42 ERA in an injury-shortened rookie season.|
--RHP Alex Cobb, sidelined in mid-August because of surgery to remove a blood clot and part of a rib, is throwing off the mound with no problems or limitations. "I'm 100 percent," Cobb said. "I feel better than I did last year."
--OF Sam Fuld, who has diabetes, hosted an all-sports camp for 100 diabetic kids Feb. 3-4 at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Fuld shared his experiences and frustrations with the group, earning the respect of teammate Matt Joyce. "To see what he goes through on a daily basis and then to see him just make these unbelievable catches that are out of this world, you really start to think this guy is Superman," Joyce told MLB Network.
--LHP Matt Moore, ranked the No. 1 prospect by mlb.com, was No. 3 on the ESPN.com list compiled by Keith Law. Moore, who is also being mentioned as a leading candidate for AL Rookie of the Year honors, said he's not trying to let the hype get to him. "I try to downplay it as much as I can just because I don't want to get wrapped up in it and do things differently than I do now," he said. "But it's all fun, and good stuff."
--Manager Joe Maddon has returned from his European vacation and has received a contract extension, reported by the Tampa Bay Times to be three years, that is expected to be announced next week, before the Feb. 20 opening of spring training. Maddon's current deal expires at the end of this season.
--RHP Brandon Gomes will be behind at the start of spring training after undergoing November surgery to clean up a disc problem in his lower back, but is expected to be ready by opening day.
BY THE NUMBERS: 6 - Pinch-hits by OF Sam Fuld, most in the AL in 2011.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "If you had told me then where we stand now with upgrading where we did and also maintaining our depth in the meantime, I would have said that that was a dream scenario." - Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman, to 620-WDAE, on the team's offseason moves.