Seattle Mariners veteran catcher Miguel Olivo reported to training camp this week feeling as though he is already physically ready for the 2011 season.
"I'm in the fourth best shape of my life," said a sort of noticeably trim Olivo. "Last year I was only in the 11th best shape of my life, so I really put time in the gym this offseason. I wanted to get into the top 5 shapes of my life."
Olivo entered his offseason workout regimen hoping to get into the best shape of his life, but soon realized that wasn't realistic.
"You can never be 18 again," he said. "I look at pictures of myself from back then and I had noticeable abs and I didn't even have to workout. I looked great. Now I'm 32 and have pretty much let myself go for more than a decade. So I can't turn back the clock. Especially when the off-season is really only three months. So I'm more than happy to get into the 4th-best shape of my life. You can't see my abs, but my gut doesn't hang out to the point it covers up my belt anymore."
While his late teens were the time Olivo considers to be when he was in the best shape of his life, he believes his 2003 rookie season was the second-best shape of his life, followed by the third-best shape of his life in the 2007 offseason when he lost 15 pounds due to the stomach flu and then did 25 push-ups per day for the whole month before training camp opened.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge says Olivo's dedication to relative fitness can serve as an example to the rest of the team.
"If we could get the rest of the guys on the team in the 4th-best shape of their lives, we could really make some noise this season," he said.