Kevin Youkilis, Nick Punto Among Red Sox Who Rely on All Types of Walking to Help Game, Fitness

Kevin Youkilis, Nick Punto Among Red Sox Who Rely on All Types of Walking to Help Game, FitnessNick Punto has drawn 309 walks in his 12-year career.

That trend has continued with the Red Sox. In 14 games this season, Punto has walked six times, including three consecutive free passes in Boston’s May 1 game against the Athletics.

After a slow start to the season, the utility man is trying to show better plate discipline. Punto credits Red Sox hitting coach Dave Magadan for the adjustments he’s made over the past week.

"[Magadan] knows exactly what to say, when to say it and how to say it, so that makes a huge difference when you have a hitting coach that understands personalities," Punto said. "This guy can understand every single personality, and he knows how to approach people. He has a great feel for hitting."

Due to Magadan's guidance — and the walks — Punto's on-base percentage (.294) is climbing back up.

But walks in the box score aren't the only ones the Red Sox lean on in their everyday lives.

It's not a stretch to find Red Sox players taking walks to and from Fenway Park during game days. Among those who like to take an occasional stroll to the park are Mike Aviles, Cody Ross and Scott Atchison.

Walking is also integral to players' rehabilitation. With Kevin Youkilis on the disabled list with a stiff back, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said the third baseman is going through what the team calls a "walking program."

"He's walking," Valentine said. "But as they explained it to me, probably backward and forward and getting into the pelvic movement that's needed. He's progressing."

As the Red Sox battle the Royals in Kansas City, Youkilis remained in Boston to ramp up the pace of his program. Those activities, Valentine said, will help his flexibility when he returns to the diamond.

"I don't want to make it sound like he's crippled, but it's a stimulated walking exercise program — forward and back," Valentine said. "It's balancing all the moments that you need rather than left and right."

Whether it's earning walks at the plate or taking on walking programs to recover from injuries, walking has been beneficial for the Red Sox.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) is offering 100 healthy tips to celebrate Fenway Park’s centennial. Visit 100pitches.org to learn more.

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