Concerns about Yasiel Puig’s approach to the game on the field may not end up having as big an impact on his career as news that the Dodgers are concerned about how much weight he put on during the offseason.
Puig is only 23 years old. If he’s struggling with fitness at this age, will it become a more serious concern as he ages?
That question seems to be part of the reason the Dodgers are paying special attention to Puig’s weight after he weighed in at 251 pounds, up 26 from the end of the 2013 season. For the moment, it seems like a non-issue. He continues to move well on the field, or at least he did before he fouled a ball off his thigh taking batting practice the other day.
The issue is the future. Any veteran player will tell you that conditioning becomes a more important issue they age.
As he continues to develop his own program, Puig may want to consult with an older teammate.
This past winter, Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez, 30, joined up with a program co-founded by Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall in Florida. He worked out with Marshall and former NFL receiver Chad Ochocinco, posting pictures on Instagram in which he looked every bit as fit as the two NFL players.
This spring, Ramirez looks as strong as always, with square shoulders, but said he concentrated on running and light weights, with more repetitions. He said he weighs about the same this spring as he did one year ago, but he feels he has strengthened the smaller, fast-twitch muscle groups.
“I think it’s going to help me out a lot,” Ramirez said.