CINCINNATI -- There will be a little less of Reds reliever Todd Coffey this season when he makes his usual mad sprint from the bullpen to the mound. Coffey will arrive at Spring Training in February likely to have shed more pounds than any of his teammates. The 27-year-old, who looked noticeably trimmer at Redsfest earlier this month, has been working this offseason with a personal trainer for the first time. "I weighed 264 pounds when I ended the season," Coffey said from his home in North Carolina. "Right now, I'm at 248. I've lost 10 percent of my body fat."
Coffey, who stands at 6-foot-5, added that he planned to shed another eight pounds to reach his goal of weighing 240 for the season. "That should allow my body to perform at its best," Coffey said. After he had a breakthrough 2006, when he owned a 3.58 ERA and led the staff with 81 appearances, Coffey was expected to be a solid contributor in the late innings again during 2007. It didn't turn out that way. Instead, Coffey was 2-1 with a 5.82 ERA in 58 games for Cincinnati. His usually dependable control was often AWOL while he allowed 12 home runs, 19 walks and five hit batters in 51 innings. The struggles led to him shuttling between the Majors and Triple-A Louisville five times. As soon as the season ended, Coffey went right back to work when he got home. "I got the personal trainer and it helps me with my nutrition, lifting weights and conditioning," Coffey said. "We work out every morning from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Then in the afternoon, I go out for a 20-30 minute jog. I'm at a 1,000 calorie deficit with eating compared to working out." Coffey, who was signed to a one-year, $925,000 contract extension last April, will have to establish himself in a bullpen that's improved on the backend this season. Free-agent closer Francisco Cordero will have the ninth inning, while former closer David Weathers and Jared Burton could get the bulk of the seventh and eighth innings. With an offseason throwing program that began a couple of weeks ago, Coffey plans to arrive early at camp in Sarasota, Fla. The right-hander already made a good impression with his new manager, Dusty Baker, when the two met at Redsfest. "He did tell me, 'Coff, I'm proud of you. You look great. I'm looking forward to you stepping up and to have you pitch good,'" Coffey said of his chat with Baker. Nuxhall book: To honor the memory of the late Joe Nuxhall, an area publisher is re-releasing his biography, "Joe: Rounding Third and Heading for Home." Nuxhall passed away on Nov. 15 from complications of lymphoma. The book, originally published in 2004 by Orange Frazer Press, detailed his 60-plus year association with the Reds from being the game's youngest player in history at 15 to a beloved radio broadcaster.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.