Strength coach talks about Montero’s turnaround

MonteroGrounderJesus Montero figures to be one of the more interesting storylines in Mariners camp this spring. The 25-year-old has turned heads with his work ethic and physical makeover. You can read his story here today as he talked about why he’s turned things around.

But Montero hasn’t done all this on his own. He worked out every day over the offseason with Mariners strength and conditioning coach James Clifford, the former Husky linebacker, along with two other members of the club’s training staff.

So it was interesting today to hear Clifford’s perspective on Montero’s efforts. Here are a few of his thoughts:

— “It’s been fun. I’ve known Jesus since he got to us and coming in this offseason, what he did, what he asked for and how he went about it was really impressive. I know Jesus is a humble guy and likes to give a lot of credit to a lot of people. But he deserves that. He came in every day this offseason. And when I say every day, I mean every day. He came in Christmas Day, New Year’s Day. He just said, ‘Whatever you’ve got for me, I’m here to do it.”

MonteroWoodward— “That first month, there were days I thought he might say, ‘Hey, I’ve had enough’ for that day. But as he was laying on the ground looking up, he’d say, ‘If you’ve got more, just tell me.’”

— “People talk about how much weight he’s lost and it’s visible. You can see that. But what I see the most is what he’s gained in mobility and stability and movement. Those are the biggest gains I’m excited about and impressed with. We wanted not only to get him in condition, we wanted to help his performance and that’s part of our plan.”

— “He’s a great young man. He truly is and I was coming in and what I knew of him, I wasn’t sure what was going to happen after the first couple weeks. I just wasn’t. We made a pact that we were going to get something done and he literally just was all in. Whatever you’ve got for me, I’ve got it. I’ll go until I can’t go. It was impressive. It was good.”

— “We’ve worked on sprint mechanics. What we’ve really targeted is shorter bursts, but you’re going to see a difference for sure. What’s improved so much is his agility, just being able to use his body, load and change direction. We did sprint mechanics for sure, just cleaned him up and made him more efficient. And he’s going to get better.”

— “He is an athlete and he’s always been an athlete, he just didn’t maintain what he needed to do to continue to be an athlete. When you get away from that and don’t take care of yourself, you lose mobility. That’s one thing we talk about during the season, one of our biggest things is mobility. We sit down all the time, we’re on planes, cramped, in clubhouse, we have to make sure they maintain that mobility. For him, he’d just lost so much of it. Now it’s there.”

— “I’ve been in the organization 23 years and doing this 16-17 years. He dedicated himself as much this offseason as I’ve ever seen anybody and I’m proud of him. It’s just been rewarding for me to watch this guy do this. He really just said, ‘I’m going to do this.’”

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