Joel Sherman wrote an interesting story for the New York Post yesterday about a new strength and conditioning program Alex Rodriguez started in the offseason. Rodriguez spent the winter working out with Dr. Mike Clark, CEO of the National Academy of Sports Medicine, and now travels with a member of Clark’s staff every day throughout spring training.
Clark, according to the article, believes in “treating the body globally, rather than locally.” In a nutshell: Instead of targeting and treating a specific, isolated injury, the program works to identify weaknesses in other areas of the body – in Rodriguez’s case, his right big toe, left ankle, right knee and right hip – which are putting extra stress on his body and leading to injuries elsewhere.
As Sherman notes:
"“It is a chicken-and-egg argument what came first, but all feed upon each other to create a domino effect of wear, tear and pain. They also helped cause, in Clark’s estimation, an impingement in Rodriguez’s left shoulder. A result of the lack of movement here and instability there was a swing that had lost some range and power.”"
It’s an interesting read and provides some great detail — particularly when Clark highlights that Rodriguez had a 27-degree range of motion in his right big toe, and 70 is the ideal. This, he says, caused stress on his knee and hips when he was swinging. His knee and hip, of course, being two of his more prominent injuries in the past four years.
Rodriguez is looking to bounce back from last year, which was one of the worst seasons — if not the worst — of his career. And he’s off to a pretty decent start, considering there was no shortage of coverage about whether his 3-for-3 performance at the plate Sunday was a foreshadowing of what 2012 will bring for the third baseman and Yankee clean up hitter.
It’s silly to put that much stock into three at-bats, but maybe the combination of a new workout program and an experimental knee procedure will keep Rodriguez healthy and productive this year. As easy as it is to pick on the man, he really should be commended in this situation (and this one) for working hard to rebound from a poor season and looking for new ways to keep injuries and age at bay at the age of 36.
I don’t think three at-bats merited the countless stories that have been written in the past 24 hours about his “resurgence,” and no one has any idea of knowing whether this workout program will make a difference, but I do hope he has a big year – for the team’s sake, and for his.