TEMPE, Ariz. -- The new body Bobby Wilson brought to Spring Training clearly is paying dividends. The Angels catcher is drawing rave reviews from the critic who counts most, Mike Scioscia.
"The way he's moving around the plate," Scioscia said, "he's doing things with more ease. Last year, he blocked the ball well, but you can see he's quicker back there, more confident."
Wilson, through a winter-long program of improved diet and conditioning work, dropped 33 pounds, to 210, while adding strength and gaining a wife, Lori. It was an offseason that might have altered the course of his career.
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"We talked to Bobby [after the 2009 season]," Scioscia said. "All we wanted him to lose was 20 pounds, and he ran with it. He's always been a big kid. He dieted, exercised and he's at a strong weight. He's doing most things with more ease. And it should help him with his durability. He wants to make a statement."
Wilson's self-improvement hasn't been confined to his physique. He has worked on his hitting stroke with the idea of making even more consistent contact, and through six Cactus League games, he's batting .429 with one strikeout in 14 at-bats.
"I feel pretty good about how things are going," Wilson said, "but I've got a long way to go.
"We did all the testing after I got home [to Florida] after the season. I was 243 pounds. At the end, after the dieting and workouts, I was 30 pounds lighter, and the testing showed my strength had almost doubled.
"I had some knee issues, and the leg workouts I did really improved my strength. My body fat went down five percent, from 18 to 13. I wasn't just losing weight, I was getting rid of fat and adding muscle."
Jeff Mathis, who shared the catching job with Mike Napoli for four years, is also having a solid spring, batting .308 in six games. Hank Conger is struggling to get started in his bid to land a roster spot, hitting .063 in 16 at-bats.