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Mo Vaughn
Mo Vaughn was heavily criticized last season when his batting average (.259) fell well short of his weight (275 or more), but he arrived in camp yesterday looking trimmer.
Vaughn
thinner
but still
hungry
Fitter first baseman says
he's ready for a big year
Peter Abraham
The Journal News

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -A group of 20 reporters and photographers gathered in front of Thomas J. White Stadium late yesterday afternoon awaiting the arrival of Mo Vaughn. A black sport utility vehicle pulled up and the crowd stirred. Out banned fight fielder Jeromy Burnitz,Mo Vaughn who pulled his T-shirt up over his stomach and laughed. Vaughn arrived a few minutes later in the back of a stretch limousine. No joke this time the Hit Dog looked good. He wouldn't reveal his weight or how many pounds he'd shed, but the sluggish slugger who played for the Mets last season is no more. Vaughn's waist was trimmer, his chest more defined, and his arms filled the sleeves of a dark blue T shirt. Listed at 275 I pounds last season and likely well over that, the 35-year-old Vaughn is much closer to 250 and has six weeks of spring training to further improve on that. "I love playing the game, even in the bad times," Vaughn said. "I want to play at a high level again, and I knew I needed to do the right things to do that again." Vaughn changed his offseason workouts to emphasize speed over power. The first baseman employed a personal trainer and chef at his home in Columbus, Ohio, and spent only a few days in New York once the season was over. "It's a lifestyle change," he said. "There were good days and bad days, but I stuck to it. It was easier than I thought, but I also worked out very hard." Vaughn hit only.259 with 26 homers and


72 RBI last season. He committed 18 errors at first base and bogged down the offense with his slow feet. His poor conditioning drew the attention of owner Fred Wilpon, who demanded Vaughn get in better shape.
Vaughn actually started the process midway through last season when he hired a White Plains company to prepare his meals.
"Mo has been great to work with. I've worked with some other professional athletes and he's as dedicated as anybody," said Monica Lynn, the owner of 5 Squares. "I'm floored by him."
Many fitness experts advocate eating five small meals a day, about 2,000 calories. Lynn's company provides those meals for Vaughn.
"It's gourmet food and it's food he likes," she said. "But there aren't any empty calories from wheat and sugar."

Said Vaughn: "It's a science, and I know that now. You have to fuel your body and do the right things. I learned a lot."
Ben Velasquez, Vaughn's trainer, suggested he sign up with with 5 Squares. The company gave recipes to Vaughn's personal chef in Ohio. A sister company will prepare his meals in Florida during the next six weeks.

"It's idiot proof, we take care of everything," Lynn said. "If you stick to the plan, it works. People are going to see a new Mo Vaughn. I can't wait to see him play this season."
Manager Art Howe feels the same way Vaughn hit.285 with 21 home runs and 47 RBI over his last 78 games in 2002 and the Mets are banking on him continuing that" pace.
"We let him know how much we're going to rely on him and how much we need him," Howe said. "I think he has his priorities straight this season. He's a lot of fun to be around .... He's going to bounce back."
Vaughn, an outspoken clubhouse leader during his years with the Red Sox, was largely silent last season, beset by his own problems after missing the 2001 season with an arm injury.
But Vaughn spoke confidently yesterday, saying he wants to play another five years and return to the form he showed in 1995 when he won the American League MVP award in Boston. "I haven't had a really great year in about four years," he said. "It's about time."

 

 

 

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