Monday, February 1, 2016

J.R. Graham's dietary changes

There were reports out of Twins Fest over the weekend that J.R. Graham lost 30 pounds this winter by the simple method of

  • eating breakfast regularly;
  • cutting out pizza and alcohol

This made me suspect that there are some pizza places wherever it is that Graham calls home that are now on the verge of bankruptcy.

Subsequent reports suggested that the process was a bit more complex than that, and that Graham lost even more than 30 pounds.

Still, the bit about eating breakfast regularly ties into one aspect of the life of a pro baseball player that has to be difficult: the hours are so irregular. Most games are played at night, and half of them are on the road. Team frequently arrive in the next city in the wee hours; a player gets to the hotel at 4 a.m. and crashes.

It's one thing for Graham, or any other pro athlete, to get himself into an ideal routine during the offseason. Sticking to that routine, especially in terms of sleep and diet, during the season is another matter altogether. Some well-paid stars have a personal nutritionist to help them maintain their regimen, but that's not really an option for, say, a prospect in a bus league.

No matter how improved his physical condition, I doubt Graham will make the roster this spring. He stuck on the major league roster all season in 2015, but that was in large part because he was a Rule 5 guy. He doesn't have that lifeline in 2016. It's going to take a lot of somethings for Graham to come north this spring, I suspect -- not only Graham pitching well in camp, but injuries and or trades.  He's one of multiple right-handed hard throwers who'll be in camp, and he's not at the top of the list.

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