Huston Street’s start to the 2015 season couldn’t have gone better. After starting pitcher C.J. Wilson threw a gem worthy of manager Mike Scioscia calling it “a masterpiece” on Tuesday night’s win over the Seattle Mariners, Street came in and struck out two M’s for his first save of the season. He then followed that up with another perfect outing the very next day.
Last year’s trade deadline acquisition of Street (1.37 ERA in 14) helped form one of the best setup man/closer combo in the American League with Joe Smith (1.81 ERA in 14). One secret to their success: yoga in the offseason.
“I think the practice of it is phenomenal,” Street said. “For baseball in particular, it opens up your hips. When you’re on the mound, you turn one direction then turn the other direction when you land so it’s better to be stable.”
Every Sunday, Santa Monica beach turns into the Mecca for yoga. In recent years, yoga has slowly infiltrated the workout habits of some of baseball’s biggest stars. Southern California native and third baseman of the Tampa Bay Rays, Even Longoria famously does bikram yoga. Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Jimmy Rollins also partakes in yoga and at 36, has never felt younger.
“It’s a full body workout,” Street said. “You walk out of there drenched and soaked and fatigued and tired. I think it helps a lot different pieces of the puzzle, but more than anything, we do it to open up our hips.”
Some people in baseball have been ahead of the curve when it comes to incorporating yoga in pitching. Smith’s collegiate coach Greg Lovelady incorporated the idea at Wright State nearly a decade ago.
“[Greg Lovelady] made us take a yoga class just for stretching purposes,” Smith said. “It was fun. There was like 11 baseball players in it so we were having fun with it. At the same time, we were getting something out of it.”
With two relievers who are not meant to overpower hitters but fool them with sneaky sinkers and sliders at a time where they would be more anxious and trigger happy with the swing, yoga in the offseason makes for a great was to prepare the body for the long season. Street prefers yoga as a workout better suited for the offseason alone and said he won’t do it during the season because “it’s pretty damn tough”.
Tony Capobianco started the SMDP column “Cap Space” just in time for the 2014-15 Clippers season. You can contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.