Texas Rangers

Calhoun sticking to weight-loss plan. How much does he want to drop before spring training?

Texas Rangers designated hitter Willie Calhoun scores from first base on a single by outfielder Scott Heineman in the sixth inning as the Texas Rangers play the Los Angeles Dodger at in Glendale, Arizona in spring training, Tuesday, February 27, 2018.
Texas Rangers designated hitter Willie Calhoun scores from first base on a single by outfielder Scott Heineman in the sixth inning as the Texas Rangers play the Los Angeles Dodger at in Glendale, Arizona in spring training, Tuesday, February 27, 2018. rmallison@star-telegram.com

Willie Calhoun has joined a large fraternity of sports reporters, other forms of the couch potato, and anyone who has a little too much fun during the holidays.

He’s on a diet.

The Texas Rangers outfielder has been busy this off-season shrinking himself as he readies for the 2019 season. He said in September that weight loss was a goal, and he’s sticking to it.

The benefits are starting to show, too.

“I think so far I’ve shed 13 or 14 pounds, and before spring I want to be about 20 pounds down,” he said Monday as the Rangers visit Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth. “I feel a lot better.”

Calhoun has worked with strength and conditioning coaches Jose Vazquez and Eric McMahon during workouts and with dietitian Stephanie Fernandes on understanding what to eat and win.

It was difficult at first, as he dealt with eating less often and smaller portion sizes, but his body has adjusted. He feels the results when he does baseball activities.

“My stride length is getting a lot longer, and I’m able to lift my knees a lot higher to help me run faster,” Calhoun said. “I think everything that Jose and Eric have set up from me has been unbelievable so far, and Stephanie has helped me out nutrition-wise.”

Any increase in speed and quickness should help Calhoun improve defensively in left field, where he played a full season for the first time in his career. The Rangers noted how much he had improved from spring training to his first call-up of the season in July.

The Rangers have some more flexibility on their roster, thanks to the retirement of Adrian Beltre. The designated-hitter spot can be used for outfielders instead of having to rotate Beltre and Shin-Soo Choo through it, and that could open more at-bats for Calhoun.

He likely won’t receive everyday at-bats, with Delino DeShields, Joey Gallo and Nomar Mazara still ahead of him, but manager Chris Woodward will have more maneuverability with the outfielders.

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After 11 seasons covering the Rangers for the Star-Telegram, Jeff Wilson knows that baseball is a 24/7/365 business and there is far more to baseball than just the 162 games each season. There’s also more to Jeff -- like a family and impressive arsenals of Titleist hats and adidas shoes -- but sometimes it’s hard to tell.
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