TEMPE, Ariz. -- After his rookie season didn't go as he had hoped, Greg Mahle decided it was time for a change. So the 23-year-old Angels left-hander enlisted the help of a new trainer this offseason and got to work on transforming his body. The results were tangible: Mahle said he reported to camp 35 pounds lighter and shed about 13 percent of his body fat.
"I didn't have the year I wanted to have last year, and I just knew I needed to come in and open some eyes again because it's easy to get lost in the mix after one bad year," Mahle said. "I wanted to come in and show that I wasn't going to back down from anything. I want to be ready for a great year in the big leagues, and help this team win a World Series, so I just decided to go crazy."
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Mahle, who posted a 5.40 ERA over 18 1/3 innings with the Angels in 2016, worked with Casey Garrison, a Pro Strongman and owner of House of Power in Westminster, Calif. Garrison incorporated Olympic lifting into Mahle's workout regimen to build explosiveness, and also put him on a strict meal plan.
"I think cooking every meal was the hardest part," Mahle said. "All day I was just cooking. I had to shop for everything. He told me exactly what to eat, so I went to the grocery store every few days, and just stayed on top of it."
Mahle's fastball averaged 90 mph in the Majors last season, but he said his velocity has increased a tick from last year, another bonus from his improved fitness. He is hoping his hard work will ultimately help him win a spot in the Angels' bullpen this spring.
"I haven't looked at the numbers, but it feels like I'm throwing a little bit harder," Mahle said. "My body overall feels a lot better, so it seems to be working so far."
• Angels slugger Albert Pujols, who is coming off foot surgery in December, will make his spring debut Friday against the Padres, according to manager Mike Scioscia. The plan is for Pujols to get two at-bats. The Angels also expect infielder Luis Valbuena (leg tightness) to return to the lineup this weekend.
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.