The start of 2011 MLB spring training is now upon us, and as each team starts their workouts and coaches begin their evaluations, players look to impress and show why they deserve to be on the Opening Day roster. In Tempe, AZ, the Los Angeles Angels are not only looking to see who can make the 25-man roster, but also to see who will stand out enough to be the starting catcher.
Angels catcher Bobby Wilson is certainly taking spring very seriously. He reported to camp 33 pounds lighter than last season, slimming down to 210 pounds. Wilson knows that he has an opportunity in front of him now that Mike Napoli has departed, and he will be looking to jump out in front of both Hank Conger and Jeff Mathis to make his case for the starting catcher’s position this spring.
"When you have an opportunity in front of you, you have to take full advantage of it," Wilson told the Los Angeles Times.
Wilson served as the third catcher last year for the Angels, behind Napoli and Mathis, and he’s looking to prove that he can handle the everyday load.
"It will help not carrying around 33 extra pounds," Wilson said. "I want to feel better, and I want to be a little more athletic back there."
The catching position is wide open, and while Angels manager Mike Scioscia prefers a defensive-minded catcher, he is certainly not averse to a bit of offensive production as well.
Wilson appeared in 30 games for the Angels in 2010, and was slowed by knee problems throughout the year. The added weight was certainly a burden. During the offseason, Wilson hired a nutritionist and kept on a diet of fruits and vegetables rather than his normal fare of fast foods.
"It wasn't a 15-day crash diet. It was a gradual weight-loss program. The good thing is I kept all my strength,” Wilson said.
Scioscia was very impressed with Wilson’s weight loss.
"It's a positive," Scioscia said. "It's not just losing weight. Bobby worked very hard to trim up and stay strong and be flexible. He'll do things easier. It's a battle a lot of us have fought."
The weight loss battle is one thing. The starting catcher’s position is another, and Wilson is ready for that battle now.
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