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Slimmer Blanton draws praise for his workout regimen

The SportsXchange

When Joe Blanton takes the mound for the first time in Angel Stadium with his new team, fans who have been oblivious to Blanton's career since he left the American League West may be a little surprised.

Blanton, who signed with the Los Angeles Angels as a free agent in December, is 25 to 30 pounds lighter than he was during his final seasons pitching for the rival Oakland A's.

"I never looked at it like I needed to lose weight," Blanton said. "It just kind of happened."

Blanton, 32, said he weighed from 255 to 260 when he pitched for the A's from

2005 to 2008. He was then traded to the Philadelphia Phillies and, last season, the Los Angeles Dodgers. During the years in the National League, Blanton started adding more and more to his conditioning program.

Instead of simply lifting weights to get stronger, Blanton does more cardio and stretching. His daily regimen, even after he's pitched, has made an impression on the Angels.

"He's got a tremendous routine," said pitching coach Mike Butcher, who is working with Blanton for the first time this spring. "It's a pretty phenomenal routine, and it shows."

It may not show on the stat sheet -- Blanton has consistently churned out 200-inning seasons, whether he weighed 225 or 260 -- but he certainly looks and feels better.

"If I was still at that weight, I would feel more sluggish," Blanton said. "I feel more athletic now than I did then. With my weight down, it helps me feel more athletic and helps me repeat my mechanics. I think all the stretching helps me learn my body more. The more you know about your body, hopefully your mind can figure out what body part wasn't moving there for that pitch-to-pitch correction."
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