It's time to really start getting ready for Spring Training now. Once Jan. 1 hits, I shift back to heavier weight lifting and start doing more baseball-specific training -- swinging a bat, running, taking some groundballs.

The first month off, I try to relax and gradually wind down from the season, but by the end of November, I'm already doing a lot of cardio and light weight training. I work out five days a week at home in Texas during the offseason.

This is my fourth offseason in the big leagues now and my training program has evolved a little bit over the years. I tend to tinker with things that maybe haven't worked, but a lot of the things I've been doing have worked well for me.

I always want to improve my workouts, but at the same time I like to stay consistent with the things that I believe have contributed to my success.

Staying healthy is always important to me because I take a lot of pride in every single game. That's not easy playing in Texas where the heat can take a toll on your body. It becomes even more important to keep yourself hydrated and in good shape.

The things I do in the offseason are all geared toward being able to not just finish a long baseball season, but to finish it strongly and help extend it into October.

Our club is facing some challenges this offseason. We lost a number of quality players -- Gary Matthews Jr., Mark DeRosa, Adam Eaton and Carlos Lee. The list goes on. But we've begun to put the club back together by re-signing Vicente Padilla and bringing in Kenny Lofton, Marlon Byrd and most recently, Eric Gagne.

Padilla is the kind of pitcher we need on our club. He had a great year for us in 2006. He goes out there and throws 200 innings, gives us a lot of quality starts and keeps us in ballgames.

Signing those guys is a good start, but there's still work to be done before we have all the right players in place to compete.

For my part, I plan to improve. Baseball is a sport where no one has ever been perfect, so there's always plenty of room for improvement. You can always get better in every aspect of the game -- offensively, defensively, base running. You can improve as a teammate off the field, too.

My approach is to work on my game as a whole to keep getting better in every facet. Hopefully that translates into more wins for the Texas Rangers.

Mark Teixeira batted .282 with 33 homers, 110 RBIs and a .371 on-base percentage for the Rangers in 2006. Teixeira, a switch-hitting first baseman who was the fifth overall draft pick coming out of Georgia Tech in 2001, has averaged 35 homers and 113 RBIs per season over his four years with Texas and has played in all 162 games the past two seasons.