Cloak of Invincibility — Gregor Blanco
[The administrator didn't post this until now, though it was posted two days ago on the Spanish-language site . . . sorry]
I have a wrap on my ankle today. It’s not a big deal. When I woke up this morning, I felt little bit like a truck had run over me. You probably feel that way sometimes, too. Just one of those days. For ballplayers, when we’re halfway through the season, different body parts start to feel a little sore and strained.
I bring this up because I’m asked sometimes about my routine for staying in shape during the season. Like a lot of guys, I’m kind of fanatical about it. And I guess it’s working because I have never been on the DL. Not even in the minors. I once pulled my oblique muscle and had to miss five games, but I avoided the DL.
The only time I would have had to go on the DL was last year. You might remember when I collided with Angel Pagan in the outfield and badly sprained my ankle. The doctor said I couldn’t play for two months. Lucky for me it was the last game of the season.
Another reason I’ve never been on the DL is all of my years of playing the outfield I have never run into a wall or a fence. In most circumstances, the team needs you to stay healthy more than it needs you to catch one ball. You’re better off in the long run playing it off the wall or letting it drop. There are exceptions — like saving a perfect game or making an out in a World Series that might mean the difference between winning and losing.
So I’ll tell you about my pre-game routine that helps me stay healthy. It’s different depending on whether I’m in the lineup or not. I’ll tell you my not-in-the-lineup routine.
I arrive before 2:30 for a 7 p.m. game. I start by working out with Carl Kochan, our strength and conditioning coach. We work in the gym on core, legs or upper body. I stretch, then go run on the field. Then I meet with Bam-Bam and Joe Lefebvre about hitting. I might work with Flan on bunting. Or run the bases by myself, putting myself into different situations. Then I do BP with the team.
If I do all that, I’m ready when the game starts for whatever the manager needs from me. I want to be ready 100 percent. Even during the game, I stretch some more. I think stretching is one of the most important things. (But I don’t stretch after games. Time to give my body a rest.)
If any part of my body is bothering me, I try to take care of it before it can become more serious. That’s why I have this wrap on my ankle today. I do whatever the trainers tell me to do. Then I do extra when I get home — I ice my muscles, I drink lots of water, take electrolytes if I need them, eat healthy food. (I’m not sure I’ll wear the wrap during the game today. I’ll check it out during BP. If I don’t like it, I’ll take it off and just play through it.)
The bottom line is I never want to leave the game. I learned that from my parents. No matter what, try to play. They told me if I get hit, you still play even though it’s going to be a little painful.
On a different subject, I have one thing to tell you about my home run on Saturday against the Padres — my first home run of the season. I was talking to my twin brother, Gregory, before the game.
“You’re going to hit a home run today,’’ he said.
“OK,” I joked, “let’s do it!’’
When I hit the home run, I was so excited. I wasn’t thinking about what Gregory had said. I was thinking how great it was for the team. I was really pumped up, and the team was really pumped up. I was feeling like, “See? We can do this!’’
When I was running past third base, I remembered, “Oh my god, my brother told me this!’’
I called him after the game.
“Tell me I’m going to hit a home run tomorrow!’’
Thanks for reading and for all the really nice comments on the last blog. Feel free to leave your questions. I’ll answer them like Crawford does in his blog.
July 8, 2014