The New York Times has an interesting piece today about the shrinking waistlines of Major League players. The piece cites such players as Ryan Howard (Phillies), Brian Bruney (Yankees), and Marlon Anderson (Mets) as having lost weight during the offseason in the hopes that it will allow them to be fleet of foot and injury free.
Interestingly enough, most Red Sox players looking to tweak their physique looked to gain weight over the winter (Julio Lugo, Jacoby Ellsbury), and only Big Papi looks significantly slimmer. This is probably a reflection of the relative youth of the team, as most players (and men in general) in their twenties aren't keeping close tabs on their waistlines. However, the Sox had a significant number of players work out at API this offseason (Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Jed Lowrie, Kevin Youkilis) and more than a few worked on adding muscle, while not tampering much with their weight (and as we all know, the media guide isn't exactly factual: Pedroia might weigh 180 in his uniform and spikes, soaking wet... maybe).
I just thought I would cite this article as the phenomenon of shrinking ballplayers is being referred to as the Pedroia Effect by writer Greg Lalas, as players saw his remarkable success as a smaller-than-average MVP and perhaps decided to take a leaf out of his book.