Rays' De Leon adds personal flair to new glove

Pitcher includes Twitter handle, has cousin in Army provide design

February 22nd, 2019

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Jose De Leon is bringing back his trademark blue glove, but this year's glove is a little more special than the gloves he has worn in the past.

"Actually, this glove, my cousin -- who's in the Army -- designed it for me," De Leon said Friday after receiving his new glove. "He just wanted to do it, so I have to give him a shoutout."

De Leon takes pride in having one of the more unique gloves in the clubhouse, and allowing his cousin to design it was exciting for him. His cousin Edgardo, or "Kako" as his family refers to him, went with the traditional Rays colors for the glove. The yellow stitching on a blue A2K model glove will be awaiting De Leon when the right-hander makes his return after undergoing Tommy John surgery last spring. The only request De Leon made was having his @JDL_87 Twitter handle on the glove to add some extra flair.

Joey Wendle, Oliver Drake and Christian Arroyo are some of the other Rays players who are under contract with Wilson -- the official glove of Major League Baseball.

Arroyo has an interesting way of breaking in his new gloves. He went with a cream color for one of his gloves and will be using the A2K David Wright edition glove, instead of the A2000 model he used last season.

"I actually put a blanket or a towel over them and leave them in my truck to give them some heat," Arroyo said. "I do that for about two weeks."

Drake and Wendle are a bit more traditional with their approach, as the duo sticks to playing catch to break in their gloves.

A new glove symbolizes the start of the season for a lot of players, and Wendle couldn't help but put his face in the glove, take a deep breath and take in the scent.

"There's just something about getting a new glove," Wendle said. "For me, bats are fun, shoes and cleats are fun, but every glove is just a little bit different. I think every infielder has a thing for getting a new glove. It kind of marks the start of a new season, and that's always exciting."

Wendle is expected to wear a plethora of gloves this season as he's expected to play all over the field.

"I got my third-baseman glove, second base, shortstop and outfield," Wendle said. "I don't have a first base or catcher's mitt yet. I'm hoping I don't need them, but you never know."