Addison Russell Improves His Body To Stay At Shortstop

Addison Russell Improves His Body To Stay At Shortstop By Nathan Rode Print Every spring, after a couple of months of winter workouts and conditioning, the same cliche rings throughout baseball: “I’m in the best shape of my life.” It’s easy to scoff at the comment as a player likely wouldn’t offer the opposite, but for Addison Russell, there is a lot of truth to it. A shortstop at Pace (Fla.) High, Russell has dropped almost 30 pounds since last summer and is reaping the benefits. “I feel good,” he said. “Probably the best I have in my high school career.” Russell has been on the radar for a couple of years now, having been the starting shortstop at Pace since he was a freshman. He bulked up to add power and was curious about how he could carry the weight as a power-hitting shortstop. With Team USA last summer, however, he was moved to third base—partly in deference to the slick-fielding Gavin Cecchini, but also because coaches and scouts felt he had become too big for shortstop. Wanting to prove he was still capable of playing up the middle, Russell started conditioning between the USA trials and the 18-and-under team’s trip to Colombia for the Pan Am Championships. He started running more, doing yoga and cycling classes and the weight began to disappear. “At the beginning of the summer I weighed 220, 225 pounds,” Russell said. “When people moved me to third, that was the motivating factor. I wanted to be the best I could be and I wasn’t the best.” By the time he returned to the field for Team USA, he had slimmed down enough to hold down shortstop and USA Baseball officials felt that unlocked his tools. In 44 at-bats at the Pan Am games he hit .364/.481/.614 with 14 RBIs. He made just two errors in 63 chances, on very challenging surfaces. Pacing The Defense The weight loss has helped Russell’s quickness, and even though scouts aren’t sold on him staying at shortstop, they seem inclined to give him a chance.
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