When Jerod Estey received a workout packet in the mail from his future school, the University of Nevada Las Vegas, the Moffat County High School graduate was slightly taken aback.
"It was an eye opener because it was so thick," he said. "Once I opened it up, it wasn't too bad, but initially I didn't know what to expect from a 30-page workout book."
Estey has spent the summer following the workouts his new team sent him with a series of throwing, lifting, running and hitting exercises. With the majority of the baseball season in the spring, Estey took some time off after his high school career ended. He has resumed training and plans next month to begin his more intense workouts.
"I've been training about three hours a day," he said. "I've got an extra month to get into shape since we don't have much of a fall season."
UNLV coach Buddy Gouldsmith has kept in contact with Estey throughout the summer and said he has liked what he's heard.
"Jerod is one of those guys who is a baseball rat," he said. "He's going to go out there and do whatever he can to improve."
Estey's workouts include long toss -- a technique involving a series of throws to strengthen his arm -- batting off a tee and with live pitching, wind sprints and lifting.
"I really want to get into the best shape of my life," he said. "It will make the adjustment easier."
Gouldsmith said he thought that would be possible with the help of his staff.
"Our strength trainers will help him get his body acclimated to the college game," the first-year coach said. "This is not the same level he's used to so the goal is to get all of our newcomers to that level."
Part of the "that level" is the length of the season. The college season will be about 60 games, three times the length of a high school season.
Strength will be an important aspect to keep the two-time All State athlete healthy. Estey started a weight training program in the winter and he said everything became easier with the increased strength in the season. Hovering around 190 pounds, he said he hopes to get up into the 200s.
"Everything seemed easier this year," he said. "I think it was because of the strength I added in the winter."
As far as adjusting academically and socially, Estey said he is glad he'll have a semester to adjust before the team starts traveling.
"When the season comes, we'll be on the road Thursday, Friday and Saturday, which is a lot of class to miss," he said. "Hopefully, I'll have it down by then and be able to adjust."
Estey joins a team that was one win away from the college World Series last season and was led by Mountain West Athletic Conference player of the year Fernando Valenzuela. The San Diego Padres drafted Valenzuela, leaving a vacancy at first base for the Rebels, a spot Estey strives to fill.
"I'm looking forward to the new lifestyle," he said. "Being a division one athlete will take a lot of focus in all aspects. I'm anxious to start."
David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.