Angels notes: Wilson, Jepsen looking trim, Aybar OK after knee surgery, Morales not running 100%
Catcher Bobby Wilson (pictured at left), whose playing time could increase dramatically after the Angels traded away Mike Napoli in January, lost 33 pounds over the winter, trimming down from 243 pounds to 210 pounds.
"When you have an opportunity in front of you, you have to take full advantage of it," said Wilson, who played in only 40 games while serving as a third catcher last season but will challenge Jeff Mathis for the starting job this spring. "I made a commitment going into the winter. The next step is to keep it off."
Wilson, who was slowed by knee problems in 2010, hired a nutritionist and adopted a diet heavy on protein, fruits and vegetables "instead of hamburgers, cheeseburgers and chicken fingers with French fries," he said. "It wasn't a 15-day crash diet. It was a gradual weight-loss program. The good thing is I kept all my strength."
Losing so much weight should help Wilson's mobility behind the plate and ease the burden on his knees.
"It will help not carrying around 33 extra pounds," Wilson said. "I want to feel better, and I want to be a little more athletic back there."
Reliever Kevin Jepsen also appeared to lose a big chunk of weight, but the hard-throwing reliever said he lost only 14 pounds, going from 242 pounds to 228.
"I carry all my weight in my face, which stinks," said Jepsen, who began eating smaller portions but more often throughout the day. "I can't hide when I get fat."
The Angels also announced that shortstop Erick Aybar, who suffered a slight tear in his left knee last June but only missed a week because of the injury, had arthroscopic surgery to clean out the knee last October. Aybar has been cleared for full activity and is in camp with pitchers and catchers this week.
First baseman Kendry Morales, who broke his lower left leg last May and missed the remainder of the season, is also in camp and has been cleared by doctors for all baseball activity. But Manager Mike Scioscia said Morales isn't running at full strength yet and will be held out of defensive drills for at least a week or so.
"We want to get his running where it needs to be," Scioscia said. "He's made a tremendous amount of progress, but he's not quite running at 100%."
--Mike DiGiovanna, reporting from Tempe, Ariz.
Photo credit: Eric Risberg / Associated Press