“Laps with Cap” became a social-media staple in 2015, a light-hearted nod to Anthony Capra’s newfound emphasis on conditioning.
Capra, a 6-foot-1 left-handed pitcher for the Wingnuts, tore a hamstring in 2014 and gained weight while unable to play, reaching 260 pounds.
“It was looking in the mirror one day and not liking what I saw looking back at me,” Capra said. “… I just wasn’t happy with the way I was feeling, and I just had to make a change.”
The centerpiece of Capra’s new routine was “Laps with Cap,” his daily run along the Arkansas River behind Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. He posted videos of his route while playfully inviting Snapchat and Twitter followers to join him.
Capra lost close to 50 pounds and achieved his goal of avoiding another injury while splitting last season between Wichita and the Mexican League. The Wingnuts’ season begins Thursday at home against Lincoln; Capra is scheduled to pitch on Friday.
“It was kind of a joke, the “Laps with Cap” thing, but it was just something I bought into,” Capra said. “I still mess around with it and I still bounce around, but it’s something that I’ve bought into long-term now, that I need to be in better shape.”
The physical improvements didn’t translate into immediate results, as Capra had a 4.25 ERA with the Wingnuts and 4.75 in Mexico, but he maintained his high strikeout rate while cutting his walks from 5.6 in 2014 to 3.8 with Wichita.
Capra’s fastball-change-up combination has made him an effective pitcher in parts of five seasons with the Wingnuts, in which he’s accumulated a 19-9 record, and now he has the physique to withstand a heavier workload.
“It was just the way I prepared in the offseason – the things I ate and the things I wanted to avoid,” Capra said. “You hear a lot that guys believe in yoga and I kind of got into that – the hamstring was the reason I got into that. I knew I needed to improve flexibility.
“With that came a lot of getting muscles in shape that you don’t use all the time and maybe you don’t realize you use, and a lot of cardio. I’m not a big weights guy, but I do find my way into the weight room every once in a while just to make sure I’m hitting everything.”
Capra’s ability to adjust came in handy this offseason, when manager Kevin Hooper left to become minor-league infield coordinator with the San Diego Padres.. Capra was close with Hooper, a fellow former Wichita State player, and Capra attended the press conference at which Hooper announced his departure.
Hooper’s replacement is Pete Rose Jr., who doesn’t often tend to the pitching staff, leaving that to pitching coach Luke Robertson. But Capra is finding Rose’s early tenure just as enjoyable as his time with Hooper.
“He’s much more relaxed, he’s very loose,” Capra said. “At the end of the day, Pete only cares about going out and playing hard. Some of the things are different as far as day-to-day operations, but everybody has a different style and you just kind of have to adapt to that.
“I’ve played with guys like Pete before and I’ve had just as much fun playing for those guys. It’s just a little bit different in their expectations of just take care of your business and don’t be a fool, and everything is going to be fine.”
Lincoln at Wingnuts
- When: 7:05 p.m. Thursday
- Where: Lawrence-Dumont Stadium
- Records: Lincoln 0-0, Wingnuts 0-0
- Radio: KGSO, 1410-AM