Yonder Alonso focused on future

CINCINNATI -- Yonder Alonso is so serious about his 2012 baseball season that he has hired a private chef.

And it is more than Alonso wanting a bigger and better taste of major-league baseball, he wants the entire filet mignon, with a chef's salad on the side.

His experiment as a third baseman is over. He is now a left fielder, a position that requires more ground coverage.

Alonso weighs 230 pounds and the Reds have suggested he trim a few pounds without using fad diets or paid commercial advertisement pills.

Hence, the private chef. And for good measure Alonso will work with a private trainer.

His college roommate at the University of Miami was St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay and Alonso plans to pick his brain and work with him as soon as the season ends.

Alonso is dead, solid serious.

He is a first baseman by trade, but Joey Votto owns squatter's rights at that spot for the Cincinnati Reds. So the Reds had him work out early every day for nearly a month at third base.

Then he played in one game at third. And he didn't have one defensive chance. Nine innings, no chances.

He was also working out in left field, where he played for Class AAA Louisville before his September call-up. In 70 at-bats, Alonso has shown he knows which end of the bat has a knob and which end has the barrel, hitting .386 with four homers and 13 RBIs.

"Jonny Gomes lost weight from 2010 to 2011 and Jonny got better," said Reds manager Dusty Baker. "He got a whole lot better on defense. When we got him he was predominantly a DH, but when he came here he lost weight and became more mobile and he became a pretty good outfielder."

It's the same plan for Alonso.

"We've discussed the same thing about it with Alonso," said Baker. "You can always slim down and work on your footwork."

Baker won't put a number on the poundage and said, "I've seen guys put a number on the weight loss and do too much and lose their strength. We don't want that."

Alonso is neither insulted nor angry that the team wants him to look more like a Slim Jim than a Fat Albert.

"I've been told to work only on left field and be ready for next year and that's what I'm doing," said the 23-year-old No. 1 draft choice in 2008.

"I'm going to get my body in check in the off-season, work very hard to completely transform my body to play left field," he said. "I hired a chef and talked to a trainer and I'm putting all my efforts into my career so I can be 100 percent ready to be the left fielder."

Alonso is looking to drop 15 pounds, to 215, "Or at least 220, but the main thing is to reduce body fat. And I'm going to work my butt off learning left field, working with our outfield instructors and I've talked to Jay already and we're going to work together every day, starting very early in the off-season."

Alonso was a combination first baseman/left fielder last year, "And I wasn't for-sure anything. Now they've told me I'm a for-sure left fielder so I'm going to be for-sure ready. It's gonna be fun."

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