Dozier hungry for Twins' success in 2016

Second baseman feels new diet will help lead to stronger second half

Dozier hungry for Twins' success in 2016

MINNEAPOLIS -- Over the last two seasons, Twins second baseman Brian Dozier has been a fast starter, putting up impressive numbers in the first half, earning a trip to the Gillette Home Run Derby in 2014 and the All-Star Game in '15.

But Dozier's production hasn't been quite as strong in the second half, as he's seen his OPS drop in each of the last two years, including going from .841 in the first half to .639 after the All-Star break last season.

So while Dozier is confident he can reverse that trend, he made it a point this offseason to try something different to help him stay consistent throughout the season. Dozier hired famed nutritionist Mackie Shilstone, who has worked with fellow athletes Peyton Manning and Serena Williams, to help him create a new diet to increase his energy levels. That change, combined with taking time off to rest a torn labrum in his hip and allow it to heal, has Dozier feeling good heading into Spring Training after switching it up this offseason.

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"It was totally different," Dozier said of his offseason. "I took two months off instead of one month for my hip. I hired a nutritionist to help sustain energy throughout the long year, so I don't get so fatigued toward the end."

Twins attend TwinsFest 2016

Dozier, a native of Fulton, Miss., joked he used to think fried catfish was healthy because it's fish, but learned a lot about what to put in his body. Dozier said he's already noticed a change in the way he feels and is excited to see how it translates during the season.

"Oh, absolutely," Dozier said. "But you always feel good during the offseason, so it's hard to see how you're going to feel later in the season. But the biggest thing is that I weigh the same. I look skinnier, I feel like. I lost a lot of fat. But I'm keeping my playing weight at 195."

Dozier, though, said he doesn't anticipate losing any power despite the change in diet, as he believes he's just as strong as previous seasons. Dozier led the Twins with 28 homers despite serving as leadoff hitter most of the 2015 season.

This year, Dozier will embrace his role as one of the club's leaders, especially after Torii Hunter retired. Dozier spent much of TwinsFest talking with his teammates about the upcoming season, while also trying to get to know new additions such as Korean slugger Byung Ho Park.

Dozier said he senses a new mentality heading into Spring Training, as the Twins got a taste of success last year, finishing with a winning record for the first time since 2010. But ultimately, Minnesota fell just short of the postseason.

"From what I'm getting from everybody, it's different," Dozier said. "Last year, coming off four straight 90-loss seasons, we had to make a change. So realistically, it was a good year and a lot better. But coming into this year, we expect to be good. The last couple years, we thought we would be good, but this year we expect it."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.