Last year was frustrating -- no excuses -- just not a good year. So I committed to coming out here to Athletes' Performance in Phoenix and pushing myself alongside guys like Dustin Pedroia and Brian Roberts.

Guys like that motivate you to want to be at that level. I had come here years ago with Kevin Youkilis when I was in the Minors. The Red Sox paid for it the first year. I didn't come back after that for a while because when you're in the Minor Leagues, it's tough to pay for something like that by yourself.

Now I'm getting pushed working alongside these guys every day, and I know what I need to do to get back to where I need to be. I don't want to leave anything on the table. I want to give everything I can and show up in Spring Training in the best shape I can be.

I've been working a lot on my lower body this offseason. That's your foundation, and for me it's always been the challenge because I was born with a club right foot and my left foot was severely deformed. I needed surgery and I wore those Forrest Gump-type braces on my legs for a while.

As an adult, I never took time to work my legs that much. I'd do squats and leg presses, but now I'm working on them a lot more. The goal is to get back to where I was in 2006 and '07.

An All-Star selection in both 2006 and 2007, Freddy struggled in 2008 and finished with a .271 batting average and a .298 on-base percentage. His .344 batting average led the NL in 2006.