Tucson Padres first baseman Kyle Blanks ran more and ate healthier during the winter to mold himself into better shape.
Through working out and gleaning advice from a nutrition book, he chipped off 15 pounds, becoming leaner for his comeback from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.
As a result, Blanks is fitter and has dropped about 30 pounds since he began his career with the San Diego Padres organization in 2005.
As Blanks aims to return to the majors, he's produced eye-popping numbers with Tucson. He extended his hitting streak to 22 in Wednesday's game against Reno.
After going 1 for 4 with a double in the 6-3 win, Blanks is hitting .404 with 10 home runs and 29 RBIs in 25 games since joining the team from Double-A. He's the Pacific Coast League player of the week after hitting .520 with five home runs in six games.
"He's just not overdoing it, not over-swinging, giving himself a chance to see the ball," manager Terry Kennedy said.
On top of that, Blanks said he has no issues throwing after undergoing Tommy John surgery a year ago. He's split time between first base and left field.
"Switching back and forth between positions is sometimes a problem for players with healthy arms," Kennedy said. "Infield, outfield, it hasn't seemed to bother him too much."
Blanks played parts of the last two seasons with San Diego and has been mentioned as a possibility to replace left fielder Ryan Ludwick if Ludwick is traded. Blanks said he keeps his focus on the game.
"I try not to look too much into anything because you never really know," Blanks said. "But as far as what is or isn't going on, I have no idea."
The Padres want to see that Blanks' arm is healthy and he's consistent, Kennedy said. After undergoing elbow surgery in July 2010, Blanks whipped himself into better shape during the offseason, doing extra running and eating less junk food.
His friend Matt Moore, a Tampa Bay Rays prospect, worked out with him near Blanks' home in Peoria. Blanks gleaned information from a book Moore had read during his own rehab. "Macrobolic Nutrition," which, as the subtitle says, primes a body to build muscle and burn fat.
"You eat better carbs, and it actually works better for your body," Blanks said. Listed at 6 feet 6 inches and 272 pounds, Blanks said his legs and feet feel better after dropping 30 pounds over the years.
"Just those little things you take for granted," he said. "A couple years ago, I would expect my feet to hurt after the game. Now I feel fine."
• A project to replace the Kino Stadium infield will begin today. The work should be completed by this weekend, and maintenance will continue next week, general manager Mike Feder said. The work is being done while the team is away - the Padres play their next home game July 18.
Lines on the infield are where Bermuda grass hasn't grown in, Feder said.
• Infielder Andy Parrino will go to Double-A to fill in for shortstop Beamer Weems, who suffered a fractured orbital bone when he was hit by a pitch Tuesday. Outfielder Bobby Kielty is expected to rejoin Tucson from Double-A in Fresno.
• Tucson took a 6-3 lead over Reno in the sixth on Guillermo Quiroz's two-run single and Everth Cabrera's RBI triple.
• Jeremy Hefner allowed three runs (two earned) in six innings.