PEORIA, Ariz. — Left-hander James Paxton logged his fourth bullpen workout Friday and believes he’s entering camp in, to use the hoary-but-traditional spring refrain: "I feel I probably am in the best shape of my life right now."
Paxton is down roughly 20 pounds since the end of last season and "hovering" between 218 and 220.
"It feels like a pretty good fighting weight," he said after a 35-pitch session. "I definitely still feel strong. I don’t feel I’ve gotten any weaker. I think that would be hard to do with the amount of lifting and training I’ve done this off-season."
Paxton, 27, faces a spring battle to hold onto his spot in the rotation after two injury-interrupted seasons. Barring injuries elsewhere, the final spot figures to be a battle between Paxton and newcomer Nathan Karns.
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The weight loss could make a difference.
"It feels a little easier going through my delivery," Paxton said. "I’m not moving around as much weight. It’s definitely easier on my legs and my knees and joints and stuff.
"But I mostly notice it doing agilities and moving around. I think it going to make a big difference in me moving around and fielding my position. It’s just going to make that stuff so much easier."