In three more days, left-hander Brian Matusz will begin working out again at Athletes’ Performance Institute. But this time, he’ll have a new partner in a new location.
Chris Tillman is joining Matusz at the Carson, Ca. facility. In the past, Matusz has reported to the API in Phoenix.
“They’re all the same, the same philosophy,” Matusz said. “From what I hear, a few more pitchers work out at this facility, but it doesn’t change the type of workouts or anything.
“I’m excited about it. Chris and I will be working out in the same group.”
Matusz tried to talk Tillman into joining him in Arizona last year, but the right-hander preferred to stay in the Los Angeles area. So why the reunion?
“We pretty much have the same goals,” Matusz said. “We want to get stronger, a lot stronger, and get flexible. And on the conditioning side, just be ready for spring training. This is his first time at API, and it’s worked out well for me the last two years.
“I talked to Chris about it. That’s why I came out here, so we could do it together and push each other. It’s always a lot better to work out when you have a partner and someone next to you. I recommended it to Chris and it was something he really wanted to do. He said he knows he needs to work on some things, and both of us will fight for a job in spring training.”
API provides a nutritional program, as well as a workout routine that fits each athlete. Matusz and Tillman haven’t received their schedules, but they’ll stay for two or three hours each day, Monday through Friday. It lasts about 13 weeks.
“Typically, you go in and have breakfast and do your workout - lifting and agility work, core-type work and conditioning,” Matusz said. “You pick up a protein shake for lunch and take your dinner home.
“You go in there and find out your goals, what you want to do - build muscle, mass, lose weight - get on a nutritional and workout program and go from there.
“My main goal is to work on my flexibility a lot. I want to get my hips a little bit more flexible and put on some muscle mass, get stronger, get my legs stronger, put on little bit more weight. I don’t really need to lose fat. And on the cardio side, I just want to get in good running shape, mostly long distance-type running to get me on track and get me prepared for spring training.”
Matusz looked stronger at the end of this season, going 6-0 with a 1.57 ERA over his final eight starts, though we know that’s not really possible, according to manager Buck Showalter. He just wasn’t as tired as some other pitchers.
“I’ve been doing this API program the last two offseasons and it’s something that’s worked for me,” he said. “It’s not just working in the offseason. You’re able to maintain it through the season. I was able to work with (strength and conditioning coach) Joe Hogarty and get on a program that was a good fit for me for the year and kept me on track, kept me strong.
“There was a period in the middle of the season where I struggled a little bit. Things weren’t going my way, but it was more of a mechanical thing. I knew I was strong and in shape. It was just a matter of getting things together. I still felt strong at the end of the year. And it was the same last year, though I got shut down.
“It’s a matter of getting your body in shape in the offseason and being able to maintain it through the season. And that’s one thing I talked to Tillman about and why I thought API was such a good program. It’ll help you prepare for spring training, but you’ll also have a routine and know what you need to do to stay healthy during the year and stay strong through the end of the season. That’s our main goal. And to be a playoff-caliber team, you’ve got to be strong at the end of the year and go through the end of October.
“That’s the main goal. That’s why you start here in November.”
Makes you want to drop and give me 50, doesn’t it?