Newsday’s Ken Davidoff is one of the sharpest baseball writers around, and he has this story today that Oliver Perez is working hard in Arizona at the Athletes Performance Institute, which is a comprehensive fitness camp.
Call it marine training for athletes, with a focus on nutrition, metabolic testing, cardiovascular work, drills and media training.
Perez hasn’t always been in the best physical or mental shape, and the thinking here is if he can master the latter he’ll do the same with the former, and consequently results could be seen on the mound. It’s worth a try, and it is a sign Perez is taking last season’s wash out seriously.
Among the Institute’s alumni are Curt Schilling, Justin Morneau, Carl Crawford, Kevin Youklis and Dustin Pedroia.
Said Red Sox manager Terry Francona during spring training in 2008: “These guys have access to so much. They take advantage of it and when they come in [to camp], it makes the baseball part easier.”
Perez, 3–4 with a 6.82 ERA in 14 starts last season, has always been an uncashed check when it comes to his performance. The potential has always been greater than the production, and the Mets gambled $36 million over three years that might change.
So far it hasn’t, but the first step in correcting the problem is in its acknowledgement.