BOSTON (CBS) — Arriving a week early for Spring Training, there was something different about Andrew Benintendi when he reported to Fort Myers, Florida on Monday.
And it goes far beyond the youngster’s missing locks. While the 23-year-old has much less hair atop his head, he’s bulked up elsewhere, adding close to 20 pounds of muscle to his 5-foot-10, now 190-pound frame. It gives new meaning to the nickname “Benny Biceps,” though he says it’s in preparation for the tough 162-game schedule that lurks in a few months.
“I think just over a course of a year, for me personally, I tend to lose a little weight,” Benintendi explained to reporters down south, saying he usually loses around five pounds during Spring Training. “I think staying a little stronger this year and just trying to get through the season healthy, that extra weight will help.
“It’s a long season and going into this year, I kind of know what to expect,” he added.
After a 20-homer campaign as a rookie in 2017, the added muscle should help Benintendi increase that total as Boston looks for more pop in their lineup. He did more agility work this offseason as well, so he doesn’t believe that bulking up will take away from the quickness he showed in left field and on the base paths (he swiped 20 bases last season). Benintendi said overall, his goal is to be more consistent at the plate in his second MLB season.
Benintendi is one of several position players arriving early this year, getting an early look at how things will run under first-year manager Alex Cora. He doesn’t have a preference on where he hits in Cora’s lineup, and also added that he’s much more comfortable going into his second Spring Training.
“Coming into Spring Training, I felt like I had to prove a lot. This year I think coming in here and knowing everybody, feeling a lot more comfortable, I’m going try to enjoy it a little more,” he said.
Boston’s lack of power was the big storyline of the 2017 season, as they finished last in the American League in round trippers. It’s an issue the Red Sox hope can be fixed in-house this season, given their lack of movement on the free agent front.
“Everyone is trying to have a better year than they did last year. We didn’t win the last game of the year, so we’ll go from there,” said Benintendi. “I have the most expectations for myself. Nothing can top that.”