David Aardsma is a nine-year major-league veteran relief pitcher. This is the fourth installment in his series, “The Grind,” in which Aardsma details his efforts to prepare to return to the big leagues in 2017.

I’ve been pushing myself almost to exhaustion.

The last two weeks I have been down in Mandeville, Louisiana, training at Top Velocity. It sucks having my trainer so far away from home. Initially, I was against training down here, but my wife and agent were persistent on trying something new. I really wanted to stay home and be with my family, but to become great you need to make sacrifices.

I’m currently staying with one of the employees of TopV, Steven Guadagni, in the house he is renting. Right now we have six guys staying in one house, and it seriously needs a woman’s touch. My wife would be disgusted seeing how we are currently living, but what do you expect from so many guys?

Recording the podcast with James.

It actually ends up being a great environment; we are all focused on getting better. I love working out at home, but sometimes you really need to be around other ballplayers trying to get better. For some of these other guys — or, to be honest, almost all of us — this was a last resort. We all kind of found this place while looking for something more. I wanted to be healthy and get my velocity back, and now this place is a beacon of second chances.

I’ve continued doing my podcast, “The Bullpen with DA,” with my friend James the Greek. We talk about baseball and a lot of other things, so give it a listen sometime.

I also had the chance to throw in Tim Tebow’s pro day, which was pretty damn cool. I’ve never seen so much media to watch one person. He did okay, but I’ve seen him do much better in person. Still, it was inspiring to watch him fulfill a dream and to get signed by the New York Mets. He almost seemed to be trying too hard, but he has a ton of talent and now he is going to get the chance to show it.


I am now into my seventh week of my offseason training. One of the blessings of not having a team was the opportunity to get better. While most players are still playing, I am almost two months into getting better. We have moved into sets of six while still working with five-second tempos. I’m finally seeing my weights really get up.

I’m still eating everything I see, but it is getting more and more difficult. Being down in Mandeville, I don’t have my wife cooking for me, so I am going to restaurants for almost every meal. The problem is that I generally don’t leave the gym until 7 p.m., and I often find that I haven’t had time to eat lunch yet. So basically, I need to cram almost 3,ooo calories between 7 p.m. and when I go to sleep around 1 a.m. It makes me want to puke when I try to eat so much food in such a short period of time. And it’s not like I can go out and eat a bunch of crap for calories. The idea is to eat as healthy as possible and eat as much as possible. I end up eating almost a pound of meat at each sitting, so after a while it becomes pretty tedious and gross.

The Grind, Part 4
Goal Current Start Notes
Weight 240 lbs. 226.4 lbs. 216 lbs. Up 10.4 lbs.
Back Squat 450 lbs. 305 lbs. (4 sets of 6) 255 lbs. (4 sets of 10) 6 reps, 5 seconds down tempo
Power Clean 300 lbs. 3 Position cleans at 205 lbs. Maintenance
Bench Press 350 lbs. 195 lbs. (4 sets of 6) 155 lbs. (4 sets of 10) 6 reps, 5 seconds down tempo

About The Author

David Aardsma

David Aardsma is a Major League pitcher who has spent nine seasons in the big leagues with eight teams. He spent most of the 2015 season with the Atlanta Braves.

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