PHOENIX -- Jonathan Villar's came in three different custom color schemes and were embroidered with his daughter's name. Brett Phillips' had a Brewers logo to remind him of his ultimate destination. Phillips' and Michael Reed's were inscribed with their favorite Bible verses. Yadiel Rivera's came in different sizes, since he
PHOENIX -- Jonathan Villar's came in three different custom color schemes and were embroidered with his daughter's name. Brett Phillips' had a Brewers logo to remind him of his ultimate destination. Phillips' and Michael Reed's were inscribed with their favorite Bible verses. Yadiel Rivera's came in different sizes, since he plays multiple positions. Ryan Braun's went straight to third-base coach and outfield instructor Ed Sedar as a gift.
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For Brewers players with Wilson glove contracts, it was the baseball version of Christmas morning. Their new mitts had arrived.
"Every Spring Training, I usually break in two, and see how my first start goes," said right-hander Wily Peralta. "If it goes right, I take that one for the season."
And if it goes wrong?
"I change it to the other one," he said.
Players received at least two new gloves from the Wilson representatives on hand -- including territory sales manager Rob Rusch, whose kid brother Glendon pitched for the Brewers in 2002 and '03. Of the customized models, Villar's stood out since they were multi-colored: two in Brewers blue and gold, and a third glove in red, white and blue that he plans to wear while playing for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.
The inscription on all of them read "KAYLEE 12/14/15," an on-field reminder of Villar's daughter.
Likewise, Peralta's glove was inscribed with the names of his two children. Braun went the more traditional route, just his name in block lettering.
Braun has been using the same Wilson A2K baseball gloves -- one for shagging in batting practice, the other for games -- for at least the past four seasons. So the new gloves he receives each spring from Wilson often are given to others.
"When I switched to the outfield, I had never even put an outfielder's glove on my hand," Braun said. "I wanted one that felt like an infielder's glove, and this one felt good right away."
He has stuck with it ever since
Phillips, an outfield prospect who spent last season at Double-A, is on the front end of that process. This was the first year his contract allowed him to customize a glove, so he went with an A2000 in Brewers' colors, with the club's logo next to "Isiah 41:10." The Bible verse begins, "Fear not, for I am with you."
Phillips knows he will open the season in the Minor Leagues, but said the logo and verse remind him of his goal and provide the strength to get there.
He said the glove will take about a month to break in, longer than other players because Phillips lets his glove soften naturally by playing catch. Other players break in their gloves with miniature bats -- the pop, pop, pop permeated the clubhouse on Tuesday -- or by other methods, including turning them inside out, putting them in the oven and other creative tactics.
First, though, the player had to settle on the right model.
"Every camp, there's one or two guys who have to think about it. It's like they're getting married," said Wilson's Rusch. "They have to get engaged to the glove a little bit. Some of them will actually have us hold them so they can come back; they have to go in and think. Some guys are like, 'I'll take two of those and that's fine,' and they never even put them on.
"That's why we're here. Our goal is to take care of the players and make sure they're happy."
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.