GLENDALE, Ariz.—As a former professional wrestler known as “The Demon,” Dale Torborg didn’t need much effort to persuade Chris Beck to reshape his tight, muscular body.
“He’s probably one of the most intimidating weight training coaches you can have,” Beck said of Torborg, who is in his 10th season as Chicago’s minor league conditioning coordinator. “Especially with the job he had before.”
Torborg helped Beck lose some of the bulkiness that restricted his flexibility and contributed to a dip in velocity after signing with the Sox as a second-round pick in the 2012 draft. They hope that a leaner frame will translate in helping the righthander regain the success he had during his sophomore season at Georgia Southern, when he went 9-5, 3.23.
“I’m very grateful they took me where they took me,” said Beck, who fell to 6-7, 3.91 as a junior last spring. “They took a chance despite the weight gain and drop in velocity. They looked at what I did beforehand, and that was the mindset they had. They gave me plenty of reassurance and faith from their coaching staff and the managers to get me back on track.”
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Beck realizes there’s plenty of work ahead, but Torborg praised how he addressed his weight issue.
“He was completely responsive to everything,” said Torborg, noting Beck’s heay weightlifting regimen in college was contrary to Chicago’s approach. “We explained what we were looking for. He bought into it 100 percent and came in ready to go. He was very flexible and very strong, and that’s what we wanted.”
• First baseman Keon Barnum, the 48th overall selection in 2012, broke his right hamate bone and will miss most of April.
• The Sox have been pleased with the improvement of outfielder Jared Mitchell, their first pick in the 2009 draft, who batted .387 in major league spring games before he was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte on March 15.