Almonte Ahead Of The Game

Almonte lost a lot of weight this offseason

It was exactly a year ago when outfielder Abraham Almonte, who was coming off a hot finish to his 2009 campaign in Charleston, was one of the most impressive players in Yankee minor league camp. Shoulder surgery just 15 games into his season last year, however, put him on the shelf. Now with an eye towards making up for lost time, he has reported to camp this year looking better than ever.

"I worked a lot in the offseason at home," Abraham Almonte said. "I worked hard on my upper-body and on my legs, and I lost 32 pounds. As soon as I went home last year I knew that I was overweight.

"I knew I needed to lose a couple of pounds and I [wound up] losing 32 pounds. I feel really good. I feel stronger. When I was heavier I didn't feel too strong and now I feel really strong."

Not only does his physique appear to be better than ever, but by all accounts from team officials who have been observing him for the past two weeks, his surgically repaired shoulder also appears even stronger than before.

"The shoulder feels great, no pain," he said with a huge smile. "It hasn't happened to me but they tell me at some time it's going to feel a little sore, but right now I feel good. I have good power with my arm."

With all systems go from a physical standpoint just two weeks into minor league camp, Almonte has been able to focus more on honing his overall game.

He did some extra word with hitting instructor James Rowson after Thursday's first intrasquad game trying to learn how to use his legs more in his swing, knowing that this upcoming season is an important step in his development.

"I feel great for the season," he said. "In Spring Training I want to calm down a little bit. I don't want to get hurt again so I want to play smart and see what happens this season.'

Almonte, who has all of the confidence in the world, knows he was one of the best players in the organization when camp broke a year ago and he says he is ready to prove that once again now that he is feeling better than ever physically.

"I feel great. I feel ready for this year to put up good numbers and see what happens," he concluded.

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