By Robiel Vega/ @robielcuba87
Next April 7, the 2022 MLB season will start, and the baseball world will live its great party. The main star players are getting ready and Yulieski Gurriel is no exception. Aware of his age and of the fact that a crucial season for his future is coming, the second child of Cuban legend Lourdes Gurriel has worked very hard in his physical training.
In his Instagram account, the 2021 AL Batting Champion and Gold Glove first baseman posted a couple of pictures of him showing the extraordinary change of his body given his gym work.
With the text, “Well, we can see some of the work (…) ready 2022” and jokingly left a message of no pizza and no Coca Cola. It is evident that he has lost a lot of weight and toned his body. This is crucial, given that he will be 38 in only three months and he aims to continue his MLB career for at least two years. Plus, he will very likely become a free agent.
In the post, Yuli tags the gym dlabteam, where he has been getting ready for the past few months, and where other Cuban talents, such as his brother Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Patrick Meriño, Víctor Víctos Mesa and Yolbert Sánchez train.
Yuli is one of the active Cuban legends in the majors, with six seasons in which he boasts a slash line of .293/.337/.467/.804, with 86 homeruns, 382 RBI, and 734 hits. The Sancti Spíritus native has a career of over 20 years in the United States, Japan and Cuba, and he is truly in very good shape, proving that he is a devoted athlete and a true professional.
If we look at his numbers in 2021, his batting title and his Gold Glove, we can realize that the Houston Astros made a great investment in 2020, when, against many people’s opinion, they renewed his contract for two years.
Nobody expected his return to the Big Show to be this spectacular: he won the American League batting title with .319 (169 for 530), something that only another Cuban major leaguer, Hall of Famer Tony Oliva had accomplished in 1964, 1965 and 1971.
But his tremendous performance did not end there, as his .383 OBP ranked second in the American League, helped by his career-best 59 walks. He was also eighth in hits, sixth in singles (123), first in sacrifice flies with 12 and third with the best strikeout rate, with 7.8 (68 in 605).
Gurriel will stay in the Texan team at least one more season. He had signed a two-year contract until 2021, that included a one-year, eight-million option for 2022, which the team took.