Baseball notes: Gonzalez bulks up

Gonzalez bulking up


By Bob Ferrante

Senior shortstop Justin gonzalez said he weighs about 205 pounds now.

When the 2012 season ended in Omaha at the College World Series, Florida State’s season had taken a toll on Justin Gonzalez’s body.

The 6-foot-2 shortstop weighed 182 pounds. He was worn out. But that 182 pounds was up from the 165 that he weighed after arriving on campus three years ago.

So Gonzalez made it a priority to follow a more strict nutrition regimen and devote himself to strength training this offseason.

He now weighs 205 pounds, meeting his goal as he heads into his senior season. He hopes to keep on as much as he can to help him through the long season.

“Those nine innings aren’t such a wear and tear on your body,” Gonzalez said. “Your body is prepared for the baseball grind.”

Gonzalez hopes to see results on the field and at the plate. He hit .256 with nine home runs, 11 doubles and 42 RBIs in 2012. And for a team that lost its top four hitters – James Ramsey, Jayce Boyd, Devon Travis and Sherman Johnson – Gonzalez will be counted on to bring pop to the middle of the lineup.

And at 205 pounds, Gonzalez feels it will be easier to do just that.

“When you put on that weight you don’t have to try as hard,” Gonzalez said. “You just let the pitcher supply the power. Putting an extra 40 pounds behind that swing definitely helps out a lot. Balls will carry more and hopefully find the gaps.”

Mike Compton has been named a preseason All-American.

Gonzalez had 73 strikeouts last season, averaging just over one per game. He’s also worked with assistant coach Mike Martin Jr. to “try and make it simple” at the plate this offseason.

When FSU takes the field for Opening Day on Feb. 15 against Rhode Island, fans will notice a different Gonzalez.

“He’s a totally different guy,” Martin Jr. said. “He was a rail.”

First-year stars ready for round two


By Tim Linafelt
As freshmen, pitchers Brandon Leibrandt and Mike Compton combined for 20 wins and a 2.84 average ERA. Both have been named preseason All-Americans for 2013.

The pair will be back at it in a few weeks, and while Martin is looking for a number of refinements and improvements as they enter their sophomore seasons, he's more concerned with the mental aspects of their games.

“The main thing you want to do is be sure they don't think they've got this thing all figured out,” Martin said. “They're going from their freshman year to their sophomore year. There is a saying about that so-called 'sophomore – we don't say the last word.'”

Martin noted that, after successful first years, players sometimes tend to let up some in year two. That's something FSU likely can't afford with so many questions surrounding this season's offense.

“It's a situation that they've got to understand, they need to work just as hard if not harder than they did last year,” he said. “You're telling me Leibrandt knew he was going to be number one and pitch on Friday night at Florida State? No way. Compton didn't even know whether he was going to make the team or not.”

"His mom said it’s a miracle," FSU assistant Mike Martin Jr. said of Stephen Spradling's recovery from a skydiving accident.

Compton, who went 12-2 a year ago, said he's still working hard but also allowed that there's a different feel this year. The nerves that can plague freshmen looking to make a good first impression are no longer an issue.

“It's definitely different,” he said. “It's a little bit more smoother, I guess you would say. Everything's not as tense as it was last year. But you've still got to keep that competitive nature up and get after it every day.”

Spradling home, recovering after skydiving accident


By Bob Ferrante

Florida State baseball player Stephen Spradling is now recovering at home and in good spirits after a skydiving accident on Dec. 30.

Spradling had tried to avoid another skydiver that unintentionally had flown toward him while Spradling was preparing to land. So Spradling tried to adjust and avoid the mid-air collision, but in doing so he slammed to the ground and broke his pelvis, hips and several ribs while also breaking his back.

He spent weeks in a Melbourne hospital before being released. He is moving around the house in a wheelchair.

“He’s healing up,” FSU assistant coach Mike Martin Jr. said. “About to start aqua therapy. Spirits are good. His mom said it’s a miracle.”

FSU coach Mike Martin said that he wanted to keep Spradling on the team’s official roster this spring. But with Spradling not enrolled in school, that’s not possible.

Martin hopes that Spradling will be able to return to campus to see friends and watch the baseball team play this year.

“I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if first of April that I don’t see Stephen Spradling around here – not as a player but as a teammate,” Martin said.

Spradling started 11 games in 2012, hitting .262 with a double and four RBIs for the Seminoles as a junior. He had transferred to FSU from Broward State College.

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