Paulsen hungry to be in first-base combo

New workout, nutrition plans have him at ideal weight this season

Paulsen hungry to be in first-base combo

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- After battling a concerning weight loss as last season progressed, Rockies first baseman Ben Paulsen has passed the eye test so far this spring.

"Everybody's making comments on how good I look, so I guess that's a positive," Paulsen said.

Paulsen, listed at 6-foot-4, showed up to camp a muscular 216 pounds and expects to play around 212, after finishing last year in the Majors at 195 pounds -- light enough that the team was concerned. He batted .277 with a .326 on-base percentage and a .462 slugging percentage in 116 games after being called up in May to replace the injured Justin Morneau. But before Paulsen wore down in September, he was at .283/.333/.485.

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If Paulsen can slug from the left side (he slugged .571 in 31 games in 2014), he can uphold his end of a two-man combo at first base with right-handed-hitting Mark Reynolds. Manager Walt Weiss likes to play matchups, but at times, he will go with the player who is hot regardless of the pitching matchup.

But how is Paulsen going to avoid another weight loss? He has a specific eating plan on a Rockies team that is increasing its nutrition focus under food services coordinator Ray Dominguez and nutrition team lead Jamie Daugherty.

Paulsen will live your mom's advice: breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

"It's not going to be sleeping until 10:30 or 11; it's going to be getting up at 9 and making sure I get two meals in before I get to the ballpark -- even if it's a protein shake as a supplemented meal," Paulsen said. "They're going to rearrange the cafeteria for us to have choices everyone's going to be happy with. I'll get that major protein after the game and then, if needed, a protein shake before bed to get those calories, because you're burning so much."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.