FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — It’s early in spring training, time to get the new mitt ready.
Or is it?
For the World Series champion Boston Red Sox, some like the feel of new leather, some like it old. Some are superstitious and don’t like change and others don’t worry about that even after a great season.
“A new glove every year,” reigning AL MVP and three-time Gold Glove winner Mookie Betts said Saturday morning at the team’s spring training complex.
But, is the right fielder a bit superstitious about changing after such a successful year?
“No, they all catch the same,” he said, breaking into a grin. “It’s the operator.”
Shortstop Xander Bogaerts agreed.
“New year, new glove,” he said.
World Series MVP Steve Pearce had a different thought. He’ll likely start the season with a new one if he’s broken it in on time but gave some thought to not changing anything after winning the title last fall.
“I have them right here in my locker,” the first baseman said. “I’m bringing almost everything back I had last year.”
But Pearce did say he changes when things aren’t going well.
“Oh, for sure,” he said. “You play baseball, usually you’re superstitious. If I start out and I don’t like it, I’m not hitting or I’m not playing well, I’ll switch gloves.”
When the Red Sox fired hats and gloves into the air before racing to mound to celebrate with left-hander Chris Sale after he fanned Manny Machado to defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers and end the World Series, Pearce, for one, thought a bit about whether he’d even get his glove back.
“It was in the back of my mind, I was like, ‘Man, if I throw this up, I wonder how it will make it back to me,'” he said.
Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi doesn’t like to change mainly because he likes the feel of his old one.
“Same glove. I’ve had the same one since 2015,” he said. “It’s just comfort. I don’t do a good job breaking them in, so I just keep the same one.”
Some players even take ribbing about whether they’ll need a glove. Two days ago, when Pearce, mainly known for his bat after Boston made him a midseason acquisition last year, headed out to take BP on a back field, a member of the team’s staff kidded him about not having a glove with him.
“It’s spring training,” the staffer yelled. “Did you bring your glove? You having it shipped?”
David Price, a 2012 Cy Young Award winner when he was with Tampa Bay, didn’t seem to care about the previous year’s success when choosing to go new or old, but did say he’d be quick to change if things don’t go well.
“I’ve got an old glove, but I’ve got a new one that I’ll start breaking in,” he said, sitting at his locker in a nearly empty clubhouse. “If I’m winning and throwing the ball well, I’m not going to switch gloves. If I’m not going to win, I’ll switch. I have no problem with it.”
Eovaldi made sure he put his glove safely away, too, before racing in to join the Series celebration.
“I was running in from the bullpen, so I saved it in a good spot,” he said.
NOTES: Sale and Price threw side-by-side on a back field. “They’re locked in,” manager Alex Cora said. “The way they go about their business is impressive. They take pride in what they do and know they set the tempo for us” . Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez worked with left-handed starter Eduardo Rodriguez.
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