SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- When he pulled into the parking lot Wednesday and saw it filled with cars, Ryan Roberts smiled to himself.
"It really drives home the fact that Spring Training is here," Roberts said.
Roberts had the best year of his career in 2011, winning the starting third base job with an outstanding spring and never looking back.
This past offseason, Roberts was determined to improve his speed, or at least maintain it, while also gaining weight. To that end, he worked at Athletes' Performance in Phoenix throughout the winter doing things like running with a weight sled attached to him.
"The thing that matters is that I still feel as quick and as limber as I did last year, but I gained 13 pounds," Roberts said. "I definitely feel quick."
After reporting in 2010 in admittedly less than ideal shape, Roberts felt he was in peak condition last spring and he made sure he continued to work hard this winter.
"You have to because I'm not getting younger and they aren't going to start drafting older guys, so there's always going to be young, hungry guys who are going to be in the Minors trying to come take your spot," Roberts said. "It's just a battle with trying to mentally prepare every offseason."