Hawpe looks to former mate Podsednik for diet tips

If Colorado Rockies right fielder Brad Hawpe avoids another

second-half swoon this season, he’ll have Scott Podsednik to

thank.

They were Rockies teammates in 2008. Podsednik moved on to the

Chicago White Sox last year, and the two outfielders spoke in

September.

At the time, Hawpe, a first time All-Star last season, said he

felt “run down.” Podsednik, meanwhile, was finishing up a very

productive season with the White Sox and told Hawpe he had never

felt better.

“He was 33 years old, four years older than I was at the time

and he’s feeling better than he’s ever felt,” said Hawpe, who

resolved to speak to Podsednik in the offseason and find out

more.

Hawpe recalled Podsednik being in “fantastic shape” when he

played for the Rockies. And Hawpe remembered something else about

Podsednik from their season together.

“I’d watch him be really into his diet and I didn’t know

anything about it,” Hawpe said. “So I just kind of watched and

moved on.”

Podsednik steered Hawpe toward Erick Minor, who owns Strength

Studio in Fort Worth, Texas, a facility that offers personal

training and nutrition planning. Podsednik swore by Minor and his

methods.

“He’s talking about eating the right kinds of fish and fish

oils and lean meats and all these vegetables,” Hawpe said of

Podsednik. “I’d go a week without eating a vegetable.

“I really focused on my diet. When you’re younger, diet doesn’t

mean as much. When you’re 23, 24, 25 years old, you can eat

whatever you want. I’m 30 years old now. Last year was the first

year I could tell I didn’t eat right. I wasn’t eating my fruits and

vegetables like I should. And it sounds corny or whatever, but it’d

be like running a gas tank empty on a car and when you start up the

next morning, you put a quarter of a tank in to run the day. You’re

not ever fully refueled.”

Hawpe hit .320 in the first half of 2009 with 14 homers, 59 RBI

and a .577 slugging percentage. After the All-Star break, he hit

.240 with nine homers, 27 RBI and a .442 slugging percentage. He

averaged one strikeout every 4.51 at-bats before the break and one

every 2.65 afterward.

“I wasn’t keeping my stamina and energy throughout the season

last year like I had before,” Hawpe said. “Last year, I kind of

hit a wall. I wasn’t fat and out of shape. I just was in a position

where I couldn’t maintain my energy and my strength level. I could

lift (weights) and lift with the best of them my size, but by the

end of the season, just getting out of bed, you’re worn out. You

face a starting pitcher who hasn’t done anything for four days and

you’re run down. It’s a formula for failure, I decided.”

So Hawpe decided to have a longer discussion with Podsednik, who

now plays for Kansas City, and turned to Minor. Hawpe is expected

to begin playing in Cactus League games early next week, having

gotten over an infection that developed on his left big toe, where

an ingrown nail was removed soon after coming to camp.

He has yet to face an opposing pitcher, but Hawpe is optimistic

his nutritional regimen will pay dividends in the months to

come.

“By June, I may be back to eating macaroni and cheese and

mashed potatoes and big steaks. Who knows?” Hawpe said. “But I’ve

felt good enough body-wise throughout this winter and early in

spring training that I’ve learned the difference it makes. If

that’s any indication by later in the year, I’m pretty excited

about how I feel.”