At one time, Miami Marlins first baseman Logan Morrison spent more time tweeting than he did on a baseball diamond. And when he wasn't causing social media controversy, the left-handed hitting infielder spent time on the bench, nursing an injured knee.
For the first time in several years, Morrison began the offseason healthy. Considered one of Miami's top prospects before making his major league debut in July of 2010, Morrison can now put in the work necessary to improve without going through rehab.
"Now, I don't have to worry about being on crutches, I don't have to worry about how my knee feels," Morrison said in an interview with MLB.com. "I don't have to be doing leg lifts. I can be out running. Being healthy right now, that helps."
Remaining healthy has been a challenge for Morrison. His injury troubles began in 2011 while trying to make a leaping catch against the Pirates at PNC Park. He had his first knee surgery in December of that year, and the knee continued to plague him in 2012. Morrison also opened the 2013 season on the 60-day disabled list.
For a Marlins team that is going through a rebuilding phase, keeping Morrison in the lineup behind or in front of right fielder Giancarlo Stanton is essential. With the young bats of Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick in the lineup, the Marlins heavily rely on Stanton and Morrison to drive in runs.
Morrison drove in 36 runs in just 85 games last season while batting .242 and hitting six home runs, although the Marlins consistently struggled with runners in scoring position.
Most athletes around the league use the offseason to improve or get into better shape. For Morrison, the goal of his first healthy offseason in several years is to get better both at the plate and defensively. Morrison is a natural first baseman but played left field at one time.
"I'm doing the things I need to do to keep my body in shape," Morrison said. "I'm trying to stay in shape, doing cardio and stuff like that. Just get stronger, get healthier. Get better."
Miami, at times, has looked around at possible first base alternatives. The team was prepared to sign Albert Pujols long-term before the 2012 season and considered adding Jose Abreu, who is also a first baseman.
Although the upcoming season is key for Morrison to show he can be a significant part of Miami's offense, he has no intention of changing his approach.
"I approach it like anything else," Morrison said. "No matter where I'm at, or what situation I'm in, I still have to go out there and produce, and produce at the highest level that I can. The only way I can do that is to take care of my body and go out this offseason and work hard in the weight room and in the cages. Field some ground balls, and just get better. I think a healthy offseason will help me do that."