Heavy Hitter

By Troy Hirsch / Photos courtesy of San Diego Padres

Padres fans will see more of Cameron Maybin in 2013... literally. The centerfielder worked out twice a day in the offseason, gaining 15 pounds of muscle. His main motivator: hitting homeruns over the closer outfield fences at Petco Park, which the Padres moved in about 10 feet for this season.

“I want to take advantage of that, you know?” Maybin says. “I want to be able to mis-hit a ball and still hit it out. Last year, it was tough to do that.”

To bulk up, he hit the weights hard.

“At the same time, I made sure I could maintain my explosiveness and learn how to carry that weight around,” he says.

Maybin, who turns 26 on April 4, says he also ate nonstop, but not the bacon-cheeseburgers he downed before nearly every game in 2012.

So, what did he chow down on?

“Peanut butter sandwiches,” he says. “Peanut butter and jelly - like four a day. And I don’t even like peanut butter. It’s terrible. But you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do, man. It’s a great source of protein, so I crushed it.”

Now, Maybin weighs about 217 pounds. He hopes being bigger will help him hit harder and raise his home-run total from nine in 2011 and eight in 2012.

After signing a five-year, $25 million contract, Maybin played a career-high 147 games in 2012, but most of his offensive numbers slipped from 2011, his first year with the Padres and first full season in the majors.

Though inconsistent on offense, Maybin has built a reputation for providing outstanding defense. He’d love to win a Gold Glove in 2013.

“My biggest thing is coming out and being the player I can be and knowing what kind of hitter I want to be and not letting anyone else dictate that,” he says. “In the past, I think I’ve been a little too coachable, wanting to try this and try that. But I’ve learned in the past year that I’ve got to be who I want to be and let the chips fall where they may. I’m excited to be able to do that now.”

And he hopes 2013 will be worth the weight.

(Troy Hirsch is a Fox 5 News sports anchor and reporter. He’s on weeknights at 6 and 10 p.m., and anchors Game On weekends at 10:45 p.m.)