Weight up: Merrifield eats 7 meals a day

KC super utility man also works out often in effort to increase muscle mass

Weight up: Merrifield eats 7 meals a day

KANSAS CITY -- Royals super utility man Whit Merrifield is right back at his rather unusual offseason training program.

You may recall that Merrifield raised some eyebrows last Spring Training when he revealed that in order to get stronger and to help his endurance, he spent his offseason working out multiple times a day.

And eating seven meals a day. That's not a typo. Seven.

The regimen helped Merrifield increase his muscle mass as he put on 20 pounds, up to 195.

Merrifield's RBI single

Merrifield, 27, subsequently made his Major League debut in 2016, rapped out 22 doubles, hit .283 and stole eight bases.

Merrifield also became a favorite among Royals fans, who nicknamed him "Two-Hit Whit" for his penchant for multiple-hit games -- he had 26 of them in 81 games.

Well, Merrifield isn't resting this offseason. He's back working out multiple times a day in his native North Carolina and eating meals about every two hours.

A typical day on the Merrifield menu: nine eggs and oatmeal for breakfast; chicken, rice and vegetables three times a day; red meat for dinner; and at least two protein shakes thrown in somewhere.

The biggest challenge last offseason was training his digestive system to accommodate that much food, especially while working out. He got sick from eating and running early on.

Merrifield's game-tying single

This time around?

"It's not quite as bad," Merrifield said by phone. "I wouldn't say it's easier, but I am more used to it."

Merrifield's goal is to perhaps add even a little more muscle mass as he hopes to contend for the starting second-base job in spring.

"The hardest part of this is really prepping all the food," Merrifield said. "It just takes so much time. But in the end, I think it will be worth it."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.