Padres Catcher Loses to Win

Hector Sanchez dropped a lot of weight getting ready for the 2017 season

Austin Hedges is the Padres starting catcher. That is not open to discussion. The backup job, however, is a bit of an interesting discussion.

In 2016 the Friars signed Hector Sanchez off waivers from the White Sox when they needed a little catching depth behind Derek Norris and Christian Bethancourt. It turned out to be a nice move.

Sanchez hit .265 in 28 games with the Padres. His production and ability to handle the pitching staff are big reasons the team has been trying Bethancourt as a relief pitcher during Spring Training. But when the 27-year-old catcher arrived at Spring Training this year he was not the same guy they thought they were getting.

He was a whole lot smaller. Sanchez completely redesigned his body with an off-season workout and diet plan.

“The most important thing was to eat healthy,” said Sanchez, who is batting .300 with a pair of home runs in Cactus League play. “After the season last year I was overweight. I put my mind to working hard and losing some weight and I’m really happy with that.”

Sanchez didn’t just lose a little weight. He lost 31 pounds and shed 14% body fat.

“I have to be honest, that was not easy,” said the svelte Sanchez. “Especially when you play winter ball a lot of guys around you are eating fried food and you’re in there trying to do the best you can. That was not easy but I’m really proud of what I did.”

Losing all that weight was good for the Venezuela native mentally and even better for him physically.

“I feel great. I feel more strong and healthy. I’m more flexible when I’m blocking balls and running; it’s way different. I really feel good right now.”

For a position as physically grueling as catcher it is extremely important to keep the body in good shape. Although no backstop ever starts all 162 games Sanchez is preparing himself as if that is going to be the case.

“You have to be light, especially for your knee. You have to squat a lot so you have to be healthy because if you’re overweight it’s impossible to catch 162 games. It’s more important to be in shape when you’re a catcher.”

With Hedges and Sanchez the Padres should be in good shape behind the plate.

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