Willis totally dedicated to succeed

Dontrelle Willis has parlayed hard work and determination into a dominant start to the season.

Originally Published: May 17, 2005
By Jerry Crasnick | ESPN Insider
Dontrelle Willis and Juan Pierre, friends and teammates in Florida, share a strong work ethic and a disdain for shortcuts. In spring training of 2003, when Pierre was entering his first season with the Marlins and Willis was a minor-leaguer enjoying his first invite to big-league camp, they set their alarm clocks to 6:45 each morning and headed to the park together to work up a sweat well before 10 o'clock stretch.

Willis watched how Pierre went about his business – the long hours, attentiveness to detail and daily fitness regimen that might grind other players to dust – and wondered how it might translate to him on a year-round basis. So before the 2004 season ended, he asked Pierre if he could be his offseason training buddy.

Jerry Crasnick | email

ESPN.com MLB Sr. Writer