By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer
WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (AP) - Wil Cordero slipped on his new bathing suit, looked in the mirror and didn't like the reflection -- his body was badly out of shape.
And his playing career wasn't much prettier.
"I knew I had to do something," he said.
Coming off an embarrassing 2001 season with the Cleveland Indians, Cordero got the suit as a Christmas present, a gift from his two children. But when he tried it on, Cordero said it clung tightly to his thighs.
"We were going on vacation in Miami, on the beach, and I didn't want to look all fat," Cordero said.
But as bad as his body looked, Cordero also realized his game was just as unattractive.
So, for the first time in his career, he hired a personal trainer and spent the winter getting buff in the gym.
He arrived at spring training camp with a new, slimmed-down body -- he lost 15 to 20 pounds -- and a new attitude.
Cordero says he's a new man.
"Any time you have a season like I did you have to be disappointed," he said. "I'm only 30 years old and I think I've got a lot of baseball left. I want to show people that I can still play. There are people who don't think I can."
Cordero's numbers were ugly last season.
In 301 at-bats, he batted .250, his lowest average since 1993.
He hit just four homers, his fewest since 1996. And his 21 RBIs were his lowest total since 1992.
During one stretch, Cordero went over two months and 86 at-bats without driving in a run. He hit just .119 (5-for-42) with two outs and runners in scoring position, the third-worst average in the AL.
And maybe worse, he didn't seem to care.
Indians fans grumbled about his lack of productivity, his lack of hustle and his $4 million contract. With Ellis Burks nursing a broken thumb in the second half and Travis Fryman unable to generate any power because of a bum shoulder, Cordero was the one right-handed batter the Indians needed to have come through.
He rarely did.
"I really don't know what happened last year," he said. "It bothered me, though."
He took out his frustrations by pumping some iron. Next, he plans to take some more out on AL pitchers. This is the final year of Cordero's contract, and he knows if he's going to get another one, he's going to have to show he can play.
"I'm ready to go," he said.
When the Indians decided to trade Roberto Alomar to the New York Mets and not to re-sign Juan Gonzalez this winter, the moves affected Cordero more than any other Cleveland player. He's longtime friends with both All-Stars, and was surprised to see them leave.
"It's not often when a team has a chance to have two superstars like that," he said. "You would hope that they would have kept one of them. It's hard to see guys leave, especially when you are close to them."
There's no denying the Indians are different. But it's not just because their lineup isn't as fearsome, Cordero said.
"It's about having the right attitude," he said. "And we have guys here who want to win."
Cordero's desire to win has been an issue in the past. There also have been times when he has had to leave the club to tend to personal issues. But after one recent exit this spring, manager Charlie Manuel talked to Cordero about his commitment.
"It helped me," Cordero said. "It gave me an idea of what he expected of me. After that we got a better feel for each other. He knows what he's going to get from me."
Manuel said the talk was productive.
"I know I got something out of it," Manuel said. "I think Wil did, too."