"It was hard, because when I would rotate on the leg to throw, that's when it really hurt," Tracy said, "but I'm not going to blame that for the errors. I need to do a better job out there."It was with that in mind that Tracy threw himself into an intense offseason conditioning program. First, he was evaluated by Human Performance Specialists, Inc. to determine if he had any food allergies that might be slowing him down. Bananas, apples, wheat bread and asparagus were some of the things he was told to avoid. "I noticed the difference," he said. "I would wake up ready to go, with lots of energy." Tracy also underwent an intense conditioning program which emphasized flexibility and quickness. He took eight Pilates classes and two yoga classes, working his core from the inside out. As a result, he reported to camp at 218, down around nine pounds, and he hopes all the offseason work will give him more range at third. "I feel great," he said. "The knee still hurts at times, but it's not as bad as it was last year." The emotional pain he suffered last year had to do with the death of his college coach, Keith LeClair of East Carolina. LeClair passed away in mid-July at the age of 40 after a five-year battle with ALS -- also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. "We were very close," Tracy said. "He was had a big impact and was a big part of my life. You ask anyone who ever played for him or knew him and they will tell you that he was just a special guy. It was hard." Nothing but time will help heal that wound, but things are looking up in other areas. Tracy and his wife, Katie, received good news during the offseason when they learned she was pregnant with the couple's first child. The little girl is due early in July. "Things are really good right now," Tracy said. "Now, I just want to carry that over into the season."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.