Conditioning in baseball is a funny thing. For every athletic freak, there are plenty of David Wells and Cecil Fielders out there who don’t really need to do the whole “being in shape” thing in order to be successful.
For the Chicago Cubs, conditioning issues popped up repeatedly in 2009: Alfonso Soriano’s legs turned on him, despite long being lauded as a physical specimen unlikely to suffer the deleterious effects of aging (woo hoo, signed through 2014!). Carlos Zambrano suffered a few nagging injuries that he attributed to an ineffective exercise routine. And Geovany Soto, who said he’d become a great hitter through diet and exercise, became a bum at the plate through a diet of fast food and exercise of weed.
But the good news is that the latter two players are reportedly in terrific shape.
The Cubs didn’t just shed the dead weight known as Milton Bradley this offseason — they also peeled off all those unwanted pounds that helped kill their promising 2009 season. Turns out a look in the mirror after an 83-78 disappointment led to some drastic measures.
”It confirms to me that when good human beings don’t reach their own expectations or team goals, it bothers them, and they go home and do something about it,” general manager Jim Hendry said. ”Soto’s in terrific shape. I think Zambrano’s conditioning is apparent.
”It hurt them not to achieve their goals. There is nothing you can do about it until next April except get yourself in the best possible condition. And get your mind in the right shape.” CHICAGO SUN-TIMES.
Zambrano was on the radio earlier in the week showing off his self-described “six-pack” (though the hosts conceded it was more of a hearty four-pack, it’s still impressive for a guy of Z’s natural size), and word around the Cubs Convention is that Soto has dropped as many as 40 pounds this offseason.