Blanks reports to Padres 15 pounds lighter
The San Diego Padres presented Kyle Blanks with an opportunity and he wanted to take advantage.
So he went out and dropped 15 pounds this offseason through a combination of dieting and working out.
``It's something I wanted to do regardless,'' Blanks said. ``Could it have an effect? I hope so. I hope being in better shape overall just helps with injury. I feel like I put myself in the best possible position for success.''
Blanks hit .250 with 10 homers and 22 RBIs in 148 at-bats last season. He is expected to be the Padres' everyday left fielder this year now that Chase Headley has moved to his natural position following the trade of third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff to Oakland.
After finishing the 2009 season weighing 288 pounds, Blanks - who missed the final five weeks with a strained arch in his right foot - weighed in at 273 pounds when he came to camp.
Strength and conditioning coach Jim Malone was excited when Blanks was promoted from Triple-A Portland on June 19. Having had the opportunity to work with Blanks during spring training the three previous years, Malone was eager to get the 6-foot-6 athlete into better shape.
Once Blanks was in the big leagues, Malone went to work trying to convince the big man on how to better prepare himself during the offseason.
``We talked a lot about his diet and eating and he bought into that,'' Malone said. ``Just in the last few years he's not come to accept that working out is a necessity but to enjoy it. As a younger guy it wasn't something he was into. Gradually we found some middle ground.''
Beginning with packaged meals in October, Blanks and Tampa Bay Rays prospect Matt Moore began dieting and working out on a daily basis. Blanks said he and Moore provided a system of checks and balances as they pushed one another to continually go to the gym and stay on track.
``You don't want a younger player to shift dramatically,'' manager Bud Black said. ``He is still finding his way but he looks to be in a good spot.''