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Los Angeles Dodgers

Yasmani Grandal in best shape of life — really

Robert Murray

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Feb 22, 2018; Glendale, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal (9) sets up a batting tee for practice during spring training workouts at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The day after the Los Angeles Dodgers lost to the Houston Astros in Game 7 of the World Series, catcher Yasmani Grandal packed up his belongings and headed for Arizona.

After arriving, Grandal settled in and began the journey of transforming his body – a 225-pound frame in the range of 23 percent body fat. In need of toning down, he sought the help of Kawika Henderson, a fitness guru, and was put on the right path, both with dieting and working out.

“I had gone completely vegetarian last year and during the season, I couldn’t get in as many calories as I needed, so I was trying to figure out ways to kind of stay semi-vegetarian, maybe like 90 percent vegetarian and then still have meat,” Grandal said.

Out went any unhealthy foods and in came a revamped diet, consisting of nuts, vegetables and fruits. Combined with a new workout regimen that required heavy and power lifting, the results were noticeable immediately.

While his weight stayed roughly the same — give or take a few pounds — his frame become much stronger and more compact. After ending the 2017 season at 23 percent body fat, Grandal entered Spring Training this season down to roughly 12 percent.

That wasn’t necessarily by design; the initial goal was to lose weight, but that didn’t happen.

“We got in that lifting program, along with the diet and we actually ended up not dropping the weight we wanted, but we actually started dropping body fat,” Grandal said.

The results are noticeable. People around the Dodgers noted how much leaner and more fit Grandal seems than in previous years, including manager Dave Roberts.

“It showed,” Roberts said of Grandal’s offseason work. “I’ve known Yasmani for a long time and he’s in as good of shape as he’s been – in baseball shape. Some camps he’s shown up considerably stronger, but as a baseball player his body is in a really good place right now.”

While Grandal is very particular with what he eats in order to maintain his current physique, he makes sure to throw in a cheat meal every once in a while to keep things balanced.

“Every Sunday is cheat meal day,” he said with a smile. “If I was getting 4-5 ounces of meat during the week, we would bump it up to about 10-15 ounces of meat that day. Depending on the portions of what we were eating during the week with fruits, vegetables, nuts and fats, we would bump the protein up over 75 percent just for the day.”

Even after all the offseason work, Grandal is expected to split reps with Austin Barnes behind the plate. While he’ll be getting most of the starts, according to Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times, he isn’t bothered by not being the full-time starter.

“Not at all,” Grandal said. “If I end up getting all the reps, if [Barnes] gets all the reps or we end up splitting time, I don’t think it matters. At the end of the day, we want to win a championship. Whatever it takes.”

Robert Murray is a baseball writer and reporter for FanRag Sports. He has written previously for MLB Injury News, Sports Injury Alert and Baseball Essential.

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