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02/22/11 2:40 PM EST

Slimmer Melky looking for past productivity

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals outfielder Melky Cabrera is hoping his new shape will help him return to his old form.

Cabrera, who signed with Kansas City in December, spent the offseason months working out with a trainer in Miami and lost 17 pounds. He's changed his diet and now hits the gym daily.

"I'm healthier than I've ever been. I've lost some weight and I'm working hard," Cabrera, 26, said. "I know I can be the player I was when I started my career."

Last season with Atlanta, Cabrera had a lower batting average (.255), had fewer RBIs (42) and fewer home runs (four) than in the previous season while with the Yankees, the club that originally signed him out of the Dominican Republic in 2001.

"Last year was a bad year for me, but what can you do? It's in the past now," Cabrera said. "I know there is still a lot I can do in my career. Things like last year happen in a career."

Cabrera has experienced success. He hit 36 home runs and racked up 228 RBIs with 250 runs scored in his five seasons starting with the Yankees in 2005. He was eventually traded to the Braves as part of a package for Javier Vazquez before the start of the 2010 season.

The Royals have depth in the outfield. In addition to Cabrera, the list of outfielders includes Jeff Francoeur, Alex Gordon, Mitch Maier, Lorenzo Cain, Gregor Blanco and Jarrod Dyson.

"He and Francoeur have a step lead on everybody else," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Those guys are veteran guys and have all had success in the big leagues. And probably Alex Gordon, those three guys, probably have a bit of an edge on all of that."

Soria interested in a more positive nickname

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Mexicutioner's days are numbered.

Royals closer Joakim Soria wants a new nickname. He'd prefer fans call him Joakim.

"I've never paid much attention to nicknames, but [The Mexicutioner] is really negative, especially when you consider what is happening in Mexico right now," Soria said.

"I know nicknames are just for fun, but I'm hoping Mexico can return to the peaceful place it was before. I don't want to add more negativity to my country when it is looking for positives."

Soria, who is from Monclova, Mexico, split time between Kansas City and Mexico last winter and said he has watched in horror as the violence in his country has increased over the past few years. He brought up the idea of nickname change Monday night on his Twitter account.

One of his followers suggested "Joakim the Dream." Another follower suggested Joakim "Enforcer of the Peace."

Soria does not have any suggestions for a new nickname.

"If you look at closers who I admire and have had great careers, they go by their names. Mariano [Rivera] is Mariano. Trevor Hoffman is Trevor Hoffman," Soria said.

"It is great if the fans would like to put a nickname on me, and I always appreciate them, but as long as it's not negative. I want to show my support for Mexico and I want things to get better there. I don't want to be part of the problem."

Crown points

Noel Arguelles, the Cuban left-hander signed by the Royals last year, threw a bullpen session on Monday and is on schedule to face live hitters during the next few weeks, manager Ned Yost said. Arguelles, who missed the entire 2010 season with a left shoulder injury, anticipates throwing another bullpen session this week. "I'm feeling so much better and it feels great to be throwing again," Arguelles said. "I'm really hoping that I will be able to start the season completely healthy. I'll pitch where the team wants me to pitch. I know they are taking care of me and will decide what is best." Said Yost: "He's throwing the ball very, very well. He's on schedule and looking very good." ... The club agreed to terms on 2011 contracts with right-handed pitcher Blake Wood, catcher Manny Pina, infielder Jeff Bianchi and outfielders Lorenzo Cain and Jarrod Dyson.

Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.