Some Major League Baseball players like to wind down after games.
Not Craig Kimbrel.
The Red Sox closer has been one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball for the last decade, and it’s perhaps due in large to his impressive work ethic, which fellow Boston reliever Matt Barnes recently shed light on in a conversation with Chad Jennings of The Athletic.
“Every game after he pitches, it doesn’t matter if it’s 1 o’clock in the morning or it’s 3:30 in the afternoon, (Kimbrel)’s going to go upstairs and he’s going to run a mile on the treadmill,” Barnes told Jennings. “Every game. One mile.”
MLB players can be creatures of habit, with each having a specific gameday routine. Kimbrel just so happens to do more after games than before games, and it’s a strategy that’s worked well for the seven-time All-Star.
“He doesn’t work out before the games, either. He works out after the games, after he pitches,” Barnes told Jennings. “That could be him up there deadlifting, squatting, doing whatever he’s doing at 12:30 in the morning. … Sometimes those are the best times to work out when your body is really tired. You focus on (the fact) you have to be in great form or doing things the correct way. It’s a similar concept to when you’re pitching. You have to kind of focus in more on that.”
Barnes has begun following Kimbrel’s lead. It’s seemingly paying off, too, as Barnes has solidified himself as a very reliable arm at the back end of Boston’s bullpen. He helps form a stable bridge to Kimbrel, who could punch his ticket to the Hall of Fame when all is said and done.
“Why wouldn’t I kind of take little bits and pieces from what he does?” Barnes said, per Jennings. “So, his work ethic is incredible. He’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. He really is. He’s a genuine, down-to-earth, humble guy. When you put it all together, he’s a fun guy to be around.”
Fun guy. Hard worker. Amazing pitcher.
The Red Sox sure hit the jackpot when they acquired the flame-throwing right-hander from the San Diego Padres before the 2016 season.
Thumbnail photo via Brad Mills/USA TODAY Sports Images
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