SAN FRANCISCO -- Gregor Blanco plans to break an old habit in hopes of becoming a new man.
Blanco said Sunday that he will decline to play in the Venezuelan Winter League this offseason for Tiburones De La Guaira, ending 11 consecutive seasons of performing for the club. This represents a major shift in Blanco's offseason approach. Just two winters ago, 2011-12, he was named the league's Most Valuable Player. He has hit .306 during his extensive Tiburones career.
Blanco intends to work out with second baseman and countryman Marco Scutaro in the Miami area. But Scutaro isn't the only teammate who's serving as an example for Blanco.
"I want to be able to be like Hunter Pence, " Blanco said. "That kind of player. Hunter brings consistency and energy, 100 percent, every day."
Blanco said he wants to concentrate on conditioning, paying particular attention to strengthening his legs. Blanco noted that his legs occasionally have felt fatigued, which might explain his stolen-base decline. He entered Sunday with 11 thefts in 17 attempts, compared with 26 in 32 tries last year.
"I'm excited about it," said Blanco, 29. "I want to put myself in a good situation, physically. I'll be better prepared."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.