Player weights a big topic at Yankees’ camp

David Wells is a changed man.

The former pitcher known as the ”Hefty Lefty” during his

playing days is a Yankees’ spring training instructor in a camp

where player weights have become a main focal point.

In the opening week, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said

reliever Joba Chamberlain is heavier, ace CC Sabathia reported 25

pounds lighter after minor right knee surgery and non-roster

pitcher Bartolo Colon is looking to shed 25 pounds.

Even a lighter Alex Rodriguez, who took grounders on a back

field Saturday during his initial spring training workout, was part

of this year’s weighty topic.

”It was his decision,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of the

35-year old A-Rod, who had right hip surgery two years ago.

In a camp with some big men, a slimmer Wells caught Girardi’s

eyes right away.

”He’s in better shape now than when he played,” a smiling

Girardi said.

Wells has developed a new outlook about carrying too much

weight. A type-2 diabetic, Wells also reflected on how extra pounds

affected back and knee injuries.

”That’s why now, some of the bigger dudes, if they do have

weight problems, I’m here if they want to talk to me about certain

things,” Wells said. ”I would push them to lose the weight, not

be a hard (guy) like I was because I’ve been through all the

injuries. Do what they say. Get down to the goal they want you to,

or get close to it. I’m sure they’ll compromise.”

Wells didn’t consider an issue when he played due to his good

mound agility.

”I could do all the drills at a heavy weight because I felt I

was comfortable,” Wells said. ”I got down to 240, where they

wanted me, and I pitched the same.”

Chamberlain responded to Cashman’s comments by saying after

working out in a gym at his house this winter that he’s in better

shape than the past.

But, Chamberlain faces the one challenge Wells did.

”If you get your butt kicked, you’re fat as can be, and you’re

skinny when you’re going well,” Wells said.

Chamberlain wouldn’t say if he reported above the team-suggested

weight, and doesn’t to address the matter, again.

Colon, on the other hand, was very open, saying he weighed in at

267 pounds.

”I have a goal, but I won’t be able to do it at spring

training,” he said through a translator. ”I feel really good

right now the way I am, but I feel like I need to go down in my

weight.”

The 37-year old Colon topped out at 278 points while pitching

with Cleveland.

”We’ll help him get it off the best we can, safely,” Cashman

said.

Also, first baseman Mark Teixeira, coming off a season in which

he had a broken toe, sore thumb and strained his right hamstring in

the fourth game of the ALCS, said there are no lingering

issues.

”It’s over,” Teixeira said. ”I play hard. I’m going to get

hit with pitches. I’m going to dive and jam stuff. You’ve just got

to play through it and hope for best.”

Teixeira increased his batting practice sessions this winter in

preparation for a season where he considers the Yankees to be an AL

East underdog.

”I love it,” Teixeira said. ”No one is picking us right now,

and everybody in here should be looking forward to winning a

championship. We played terrible in the playoffs. We didn’t win the

division. We’ve got to re prove ourselves this year, which is going

to be fun for all of us.”

Notes: Fans have been speculating about the potential of trading

Teixeira to St. Louis for slugger Albert Pujols, who could become a

free agent after the season. Even if the teams decided to explore

it and came to a deal, Teixeira has a no-trade clause and would use

it. ”I’m not going anywhere,” Teixeira said. ”I got that no

trade for a reason. I’m going to be buried in these pinstripes.”

… 2B Robinson Cano got the days mixed up and missed Saturday’s

physicals. He is expected to arrive Sunday for the first full squad

workout. ”It’s no biggie,” Cashman said. ”He’s not going to miss

anything.”