By Mark Gonzales, Chicago Tribune reporter
9:17 PM EST, February 15, 2013
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Matt Thornton addressed the issue of junk food with bullpen coach Bobby Thigpen at SoxFest, and the White Sox left-hander sent another message to his fellow relievers this week when he reported to spring training at least 20 pounds lighter than last season.
In addition to helping his longevity, Thornton, 36, hopes to set an example for younger relievers whose habits might not be so healthy.
"It gets harder every year getting over 30," Thornton said Friday. "Almost every ballplayer knows that. But if you take care of yourself, there's no reason you can't play until you decide you can't.
"It's on each person. You're a major league player, you're a grown man and make good money, whether it's league minimum or under contract. It's a lifestyle and habit you have to pick up to take care of yourself."
Left-hander Hector Santiago admitted he likes Gummy Bears candy, but he since has elected to change his eating habits at the ballpark once he saw a much slimmer Thornton at SoxFest and spoke to him about his altered diet. Santiago and Nate Jones plan to visit a doctor to have their blood tested to see what foods affect their diet more than others.
"I've never been a big fan of the candy bag in the bullpen," said Thornton, who was listed at 6-foot-6 and 240 pounds last season and prefers an occasional bag of sunflower seeds. "Bobby sounds like he's the same way. He doesn't want us eating Butterfingers before you get in the game.
"You have to take care of yourself out there. Some guys have their own sugar rush. I don't understand it, but everyone is their own person."
Bulky Beckham: Second baseman Gordon Beckham added muscle to his upper body, even after hitting a career-high 16 home runs last season.
Beckham wasn't concerned that the added weight would cut down his flexibility.
"I feel capable of driving some balls to the point where I can check that off the list," Beckham said. "I didn't want it to be a situation where I'd want to ask myself, 'If I would have gotten stronger, I would have done this.' "
Danks passes test: John Danks said his left shoulder felt fine one day after throwing his first bullpen session at Camelback Ranch following surgery in August.
"One of the biggest problems before surgery was the ability to bounce back," Danks said after an upper-body workout. "It's just another level to bounce back and fit in."
Extra innings: Pitcher Jake Peavy said he will have a charity concert in Chicago in June or July. "It will be worth your while, I can promise you that," Peavy said of the artists he has lined up. Peavy also is to entertain wounded servicemen in Arizona next month. … Catcher Hector Gimenez arrived Friday after missing the first three practices because of visa issues in Venezuela. ... Among the early arrivals in minor league camp are pitchers Andrew Brackman, a former first-round draft pick of the Yankees, and left-hander Trevor Reckling, a former top prospect with the Angels. … Pitchers will throw batting practice for the first time Saturday.