Although he admitted to not seeing a correlation between weight loss and effectiveness on the field, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig has answered team president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman’s challenge.
Puig, who turned 25 years old last December, appears noticeably thinner than he did much of last season.
“I’ve been working on getting my leg healthy, making sure it gets stronger, making sure my hamstring is in shape and I’m ready to play 162 games,” Puig said at the Dodgers fourth annual FanFest event.
His offseason work hasn’t gone unnoticed, with manager Dave Roberts and Friedman praising the outfielder’s work. “He looks great. He’s worked extremely hard, both in Miami and in L.A.,” Friedman said.
“It was never a weight issue in the classic sense. But just how big, just how strong he had gotten. If he’s playing in the NFL once a week, it would be great.
“The fact that there’s 162 games in the regular season, then you have the postseason with such few off days, our theory was it contributed to some of the soft tissue injuries. So, our challenge to him was to maintain the strength, get a little bit leaner and put himself in the best position possible to be healthy for 162-plus [games.]”
Puig had already shed some weight when he returned from Camelback Ranch for the final two games of the regular season in 2015. He attributed it the conditioning and training he went through as part of the recovery from a hamstring train.
Whether a decrease in power coincides with the weight loss remains to be seen, but Puig will continue with bat flips if opportunities present themselves. “If I hit a home run I’ll bring it back,” he said. “But other than that, no.”
Puig’s focus otherwise is on helping the Dodgers get over the postseason hump, which they’ve been unable to do in each of the past three seasons. “We’ve gone to the postseason three years in a row now, but that’s not good enough for us, nor is it good enough for our fan base,” he said.
“We’re looking to reach the World Series. That’s our mentality going into Spring Training.” As for any potential rift with Clayton Kershaw, Puig and the Dodgers ace have already talked, and will continue to do so throughout Spring Training.