After ending the 2006 season early with my shoulder surgery, it was really important for me mentally to put last year behind me and clear my mind during the offseason.

I had a little tear in my rotator cuff, right on the biceps tendon, and the doctors also cleaned up my labrum a little bit. I had a four-month rehab and now it's evolved into more of a maintenance program where I'm trying to build more strength every day.

My shoulder feels 100 percent at this point. I don't have any pain. And that's the important thing.

I was disappointed I didn't make it through last season, so I really focused on the detail of my offseason workouts. I've always put a lot into my training, but I tried to really concentrate this winter so I could come to Spring Training knowing I was ready to go.

As a ballplayer I've always put more pressure on myself than any fan or media member ever could. Nobody had higher expectations for me than me. Coming into my second year with Texas I want to get back to being the Brad Wilkerson of old.

Between the veteran leadership that's beginning to take hold and the addition of Ron Washington as manager the ballclub seems a lot looser this spring. We're out there playing pepper and doing the little things that help you win ballgames.

If we can stay healthy as a team, that should translate into success over the course of the season.

Brad Wilkerson was selected 33rd overall by the Montreal Expos in the 1998 draft and, following five seasons with that franchise, joined the Rangers in the December 2005 trade that sent Alfonso Soriano to Washington. His best season came in 2004 when he had a .374 on-base average with 32 home runs and 67 RBIs for the Expos.