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De Leon: 'Glove Day never gets old'

MLB.com @wwchastain

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Glove Day is a big deal.

When the Wilson representative rolls into Major League camp and spreads out his wares, he never fails to catch the players' attention.

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Glove Day is a big deal.

When the Wilson representative rolls into Major League camp and spreads out his wares, he never fails to catch the players' attention.

"Glove Day never gets old," Rays right-hander Jose De Leon said. "Every time you get the Glove Day here, you think back to when you played Little League. Back in the day, you had to buy your own glove, and you'd use that one glove for a while."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

De Leon said it usually takes him about two months to get his glove game ready.

"I like to break it in by playing catch," De Leon said. "I don't like to do anything else.

"Normally, when you get a new glove, it's for next year. This year, you use the glove you got the year before. But this year, the glove I got, I might rush it a little bit."

De Leon held up his black model A2000.

"I have my Twitter handle on it," he smiled, pointing to the @JDL_87 stitched on the glove.

Tweet from @JDL_87: 🔥 @wilsonballglove day! Getting ready for the season. #TeamWilson #OnAMission pic.twitter.com/IDsB9bgH6i

Ryan Smith heads one of three Wilson teams making stops at camps this spring. One team operates in Arizona, another has the east coast of Florida, and Smith and his co-worker, Mike Butler, have the west coast of Florida.

Over the course of the last week or so, the pair has been rising at 4:30 or 5 a.m. in order to be in place early at the camp they service that day. The Rays camp brought the eighth and final stop of the spring.

Rays players currently using Wilson gloves include: De Leon, Christian Arroyo, Matt Duffy, Wilson Ramos, Adeiny Hechavarria, Micah Johnson, C.J. Cron, Nathan Eovaldi and Joey Wendle.

"For me, this is research, finding out what the players like or don't like, and what they are using," Smith said.

Most players come away from Glove Day with two new gloves, a T-shirt and a glow on their faces.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2004.

Tampa Bay Rays, Jose De Leon