His new Angel teammates plopped themselves in their clubhouse chairs Friday, many exhausted from an end-of-practice sprint session, and there was Mo Vaughn, kicking back in front of his locker, looking refreshed, greeting players with handshakes and smiles.
Don't get the wrong impression, though. While Angel pitchers and catchers have been toiling for two days, Vaughn hasn't been lounging around the pool, merely awaiting for Tuesday's first full-squad workout.
The power-hitting first baseman, who signed a six-year, $80-million contract in November, has been in the Phoenix area since Feb. 2, working out with his personal trainer and shedding pounds.
When he got to Arizona, the 6-foot-1 Vaughn weighed about 265, but through an aerobic and weight-training program he has used every spring for the last five years, he is already down to 250. By opening day, he expects to be at his playing weight of 240.
"It's a pretty intense workout," he said. "I go six days a week and begin every morning at 7 a.m. You can have your fun in the off-season, but once Feb. 1 rolls around, you have to focus your attention on baseball."
Vaughn was also signed for his leadership skills, and though he hasn't even put on his Angel uniform, the former Boston Red Sox slugger has already showed a clubhouse presence. He was at Tempe Diablo Stadium on Thursday and Friday, and was swarmed by teammates and coaches on each visit.
"This club has been so close the last four years . . . and Mo is the type of personality they could have used to get over the hump," new Angel pitcher Tim Belcher said. "He's such a clutch hitter. You look at the top clubs in our league, like New York and Cleveland, and how stacked they are.
"You can never have enough in your lineup in the American League. You've got to pound people. You need some beef in the lineup from top to bottom, and he brings that to a club."
The Angels will wear shoulder patches honoring longtime owner Gene Autry, who died last October. . . . Just a thought: How will Boston Red Sox fans react if new Yankee ace Roger Clemens and Vaughn start in the All-Star game at Fenway Park?