According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, A.J. Griffin, right-hander for the Oakland Athletics, has been shedding extra weight.
The starter, who has allowed an MLB-leading 33 home runs, has lowered his weight to 228 pounds after getting up to 240. The 6-foot-5 righty is not the first to Oakland pitcher to make some weight-related adjustments. Brett Anderson, as Slusser noted, dropped 25 pounds while rehabbing from an elbow injury. Anderon has slimmed down so much that he can now easily be confused with Sean Doolittle, the team’s other red-haired lefty.
Anderson pointed out to Slusser that “having extra weight is not beneficial” and especially in the heat of Texas. That’s where the team is headed this weekend for the final series of the year with the AL West rival Texas Rangers. The weight loss seems to be having the desired effect for Griffin, who has now ripped off three straight wins. Immediately before that stretch, Griffin endured a run of three starts in which he issued 15 walks combined.
Now, clearly Griffin didn’t rediscover the strike zone because he dropped a little weight, but it can only have helped his confidence. For pitchers, confidence is a vital commodity. Dan Straily, who often pitches the day after Griffin, has also navigated his own weight-related issues. Last month, Slusser reported that Straily (6-foot-2) had been 252 pounds as a freshman pitcher at Marshall University. As he explained of his cafeteria habits to Slusser: “I could crush everything all day long.”
These days Straily pitches at 215 pounds. Lately, the second-year starter, who still qualifies as a rookie, has looked excellent. After winning three straight starts, the 24-year-old righty is on the verge of earning win number 10 on the season.
It’s unclear if veteran Bartolo Colon has been following the same eating plan as Anderson, Griffin and Straily. The portly 40-year-old right-hander makes for an easy target, but up close he’s actually quite strong.
At least the team won’t need to worry about the respective weights of a couple of its relievers. Jesse Chavez, who is 6-foot-2, comes in at 160 pounds, and then there’s Jerry Blevins. The lefty, who stands 6-foot-6, weighs just 175 pounds.