Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Last year Vladimir Guerrero Jr. showed up to spring training carrying more weight than he wanted.

Embarrassed and apologetic after arriving out of shape in 2020, the Toronto Blue Jays slugger worked aggressively on his conditioning this offseason and said he has lost 42 pounds since last July.

“For the last couple years, they knew I was coming here out of shape. I didn’t prepare myself very well,” Guerrero said through a team interpreter. “I felt like, at that moment, my teammates needed an apology from me. I just talked to them for a while, and the good thing about that is that they accepted my apology. Right then, they talked to me, they motivated me. You know what? It’s in the past. Let’s start over again and start getting ready.”

“I feel quicker,” Guerrero said. “That’s the word to describe all I did. I’m quicker in all aspects of my game right now, especially running the bases, I feel great. Taking ground balls, before I would feel a lot of fatigue taking ground balls. Now I can say 50 or 60 ground balls and I’m still feeling good.”

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. who turns 22 in March, hit .272 with 15 home runs and 69 RBI as a rookie in 2019. However, he hit his final home run on Aug. 16 and looked tired down the stretch, eventually missing time with a sore right knee.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. dropped weight before spring training in 2020, but gained it back after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down baseball for several months. Last November, Guerrero told a Dominican newspaper he had apologized to his Blue Jays teammates after showing up overweight for summer camp when baseball returned in July.

After switching from third base to first base in 2020, Guerrero hit .262 with nine homers and 33 RBI, playing in all 60 games of the pandemic-shortened season.