CLEARWATER, Fla. - Did the Phillies sign Jenny Craig to a free-agent contract this winter, or what?
Ryan Howard dropped 20 pounds. Brett Myers has him beat. He lost 30.
"Just working out a lot," Myers said yesterday as he checked into training camp.
The 28-year-old pitcher said he weighs about 222 pounds.
Myers will be eligible for free agency at season's end, but that, he said, was not his motivation for getting in better shape.
"Winning the World Series was great, but personally I had a bad taste in my mouth this winter because of how badly I pitched in the first half of the season," the righthander said. "I needed to get in better shape so we don't have to fight to get into the playoffs the last three weeks.
"I wanted to feel like I was in better shape and show my dedication to this team so I can go out and pitch better. I need to start stronger. I lost nine games in the first half. It would have made a big difference if I had pitched better."
Myers rebounded in the second half and went 7-4 with a 3.06 ERA in his final 13 starts to help the Phils win the National League East.
A homegrown Phillie, Myers has seen seven teammates - Cole Hamels, Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, Greg Dobbs, Ryan Madson, Jamie Moyer and Raul Ibanez - sign multiyear contracts this winter. In addition, Brad Lidge, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and J.C. Romero are on multiyear deals.
Myers is entering the final season of a three-year, $25.75 million contract, and there have been no talks of an extension. While he hopes to remain part of the team's core after this season, he said he isn't wondering where his extension is.
"I got mine three years ago," he said. "They were probably wondering where theirs was at that time.
"I'm not going to worry about it. I'd like to stay in Philadelphia, but ultimately it's going to come down to how I pitch. If I end up staying here, that will be good for me and my family, because the organization has been great to me and we like living there."
The Phillies will have a payroll of more than $130 million this season, and most of the players they have signed to multiyear deals will be due raises next season. Myers, who will make $12 million this season, is aware that future payroll commitments could affect the Phillies' thinking as they decide whether to make him an offer beyond this season.
"I'm not afraid of what might happen after the season," Myers said. "I know I'm here this year. It's up to me to pitch well."