The road Ernesto Mejia took to his brilliant start to the season didn’t begin on opening day, or even on the first day of spring camp. It started during a few restless days he spent in Japan while waiting to fly home after the 2015 season. He was upset with the way his year had gone, that he hadn’t been able to do more to help the Seibu Lions climb higher than fourth place in the Pacific League.

So even before leaving Japan, Mejia began his training for 2016 by finding time to go running when he could. He kept it up when he got home, mixing in other types of training. For months he worked relentlessly, almost from the minute one season ended until the next began.

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