Myers gets in better shape after signing a big contract

Updated: February 6, 2007, 8:44 PM ET
Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA -- Brett Myers has a slimmer waistline to go with his fat contract.

Myers, who agreed to a $25.75 million, three-year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies last week, showed up at his news conference Tuesday looking fit and ready to live up to high expectations.

AP Photo/Matt RourkePhillies pitcher Brett Myers, left, looked trimmer when meeting the media after signing his contract.

The 26-year-old right-hander said he weighs 218 pounds, down from 250 at the end of last season. The Phillies are counting on him to anchor a deep rotation that includes newcomers Freddy Garcia and Adam Eaton, promising lefty Cole Hamels and veterans Jamie Moyer and Jon Lieber.

"I surpassed what I was shooting for," said Myers, whose weight sometimes became an issue the past couple years.

Instead of eating nachos and ice cream on the couch, Myers followed a stricter diet and spent countless hours in the gym this offseason. He'll show off his new frame in a uniform when pitchers and catchers report to spring training next week.

A former first-round pick, Myers has won at least 11 games each of the past four seasons. He went 12-7 with a 3.91 ERA in 31 starts last season and led the Phillies in wins, ERA, starts, innings (198), strikeouts (189), winning percentage (.632) and opponents' batting average (.257).

"It's difficult to go outside the organization to obtain this type of talent," assistant general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "It's important when you have this type of talent to keep them around."

Myers missed time last year after taking a leave from the team following his arrest for abuse against his wife in Boston in late June. The charge against Myers was dismissed in October when Kim Myers said she did not want her husband prosecuted for hitting her in the face during an argument near Fenway Park.

A matured Myers said he learned from the incident, and his relationship with his wife is solid.

"I felt terrible for the organization and my family that it came about," Myers said as his wife sat nearby. "It's one of those things where everybody makes mistakes and hopefully these things never happen again."

Surprisingly, Myers got a nice reception from the notoriously tough Philly fans in his first home start after the incident.

"I really appreciated that," he said. "I grew a lot of respect for the fans after that day."

Selected with the 12th overall pick in the 1999 amateur draft, Myers is 54-40 with a 4.34 ERA in 140 starts and one relief appearance. He won a career-best 14 games in his first full season in 2003 and has started at least 31 games every season since.

With an excellent nucleus surrounding him, Myers could be on the verge of a breakout season. His main concern is helping the Phillies finally reach the playoffs after falling short on the final weekend two straight years.

"I'm not worried about what my stats are as long as the team wins when I start," Myers said.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press