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February 17, 2013 at 11:35 PM

Mariners infield prospect Nick Franklin chowing down with 6,500-calorie-per-day diet in bid to hit the baseball further

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Last I saw Mariners infield prospect Nick Franklin, he was at the Arizona Fall League last October. When I ran into him in the clubhouse on Sunday, he looked quite different. Actually, I’d noticed him looking much heavier on Saturday when I saw him doing agility drills post-Mariners-workout (video above), so I decided to ask him what’s-what.

Mariners infield prospect Nick Franklin takes part in agility drills at spring training in Peoria, AZ.

Franklin told me he’s gained 34 pounds since September by putting himself through a 6,500-calorie-per-day diet. You can read more about it here in our story for Monday’s newspaper.

His diet is a couch potato’s fantasy. Lunch and dinner every day at Carrabba’s, Chipotle’s or The Corner Bakery. Breakfast is six scrambled eggs and not just the whites. Plus a high-caloric shake. If he has no time to cook, just hop on over to Chick Fil A.

Nick Franklin in hungrier times. Photo Credit: AP

Franklin was tired of a 6-foot-1, 162-pound frame that he says was collapsing on him last August. He now weighs 196 pounds and wants to be at 200 when the season begins.

I spoke with his personal performance coach, Jeff Higuera, by phone from Florida and he told me Franklin was a good candidate for the weight gain because of his age and the fact his body, muscles and hormones were primed for a big weight gain in any event. He also said Franklin is the most powerful baseball player he’s ever worked with and has a gym work ethic second to none. That part is encouraging, because the diet, well…let’s just say it’s something most men would love to call their own.

Mariners manager Eric Wedge told me he’s excited and wants to see the results.

Let’s be clear: Franklin isn’t sporting Incredible Hulk upper body muscle here. The biggest weight gain appears to be in his lower body, starting with his waist, his hips and his legs. He told me he can now squat 425 pounds and that the power has compensated for the weight gain and led to his maintaining speed and agility.

The biggest reason he wanted to put on the weight was to hit the baseball further. So that the balls he hits to the gaps start clearing the fence.

I guess we’ll see.

As his trainer says in the story, not every person can do a diet like this: not even your typical sportswriter, who is known to consume some calories.

“Honestly, there are some days where I just want to let it all go,” Franklin said. “It’s hard to hold it down sometimes. Other than that, I feel like I’m on a full stomach the entire day. There’s not one point where I’m hungry. I’m always full when I’m eating, let’s just say that. I’m always eating when I’m not supposed to be eating.”

This sounds like work.

So, pass the brew and tip a glass to Nick Franklin as you chug it on down. As Tommy Lasorda might have said in the early 1990s, he’s having a shake for breakfast, a shake for lunch, and a sensible dinner — at Carrabba’s. With a bunch of shakes in-between. Hold the mayo. On second thought, slop it on. Who’s leading this workout? Jane Fonda, or John Belushi?

This will be an interesting spring, indeed.

Comments | More in spring training | Topics: calories, diet, Jeff Higuera

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