There will be a rarity at Fenway Park for this weekend series against the Orioles, as Red Sox players will have names on the back of their home jerseys. But they aren't just any names, but rather nicknames of their choice.Welcome to the inaugural Players Weekend in MLB, in which
There will be a rarity at Fenway Park for this weekend series against the Orioles, as Red Sox players will have names on the back of their home jerseys. But they aren't just any names, but rather nicknames of their choice.
Welcome to the inaugural Players Weekend in MLB, in which every player and coach in uniform can choose what name gets to be on the back of his jersey. There will also be patches for them to honor people of their choice.
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Red Sox manager John Farrell and reliever Brandon Workman are simply going with their last names on their jerseys. All other Boston players have selected a nickname of some type. Here is an explanation of the nicknames and patches that will be on display at Fenway the next three days.
Fernando Abad: "NANDITO"
Fernandito is often used as a nickname for Fernando in Latin countries, and Abad simply decided to make that nickname a little shorter.
Tribute patch: MOM & Family -- Anyone who has spent much time talking to Abad knows that his mom is his favorite person in the world. When he made the Twins' roster in 2016, the first phone call he placed was to his mother in the Dominican Republic.
Andrew Benintendi: "BENNY"
"Benny was something my dad's friends called him when he was younger," said Benintendi. "One of my dad's college teammates was my coach when I played as a kid, and he called me Benny, and it just kind of went from there. My friends at Arkansas called me Benny, so I just kept it simple."
Tribute patch: MOM DAD OLIVIA LILLY -- The closeness Benintendi has with his family has been obvious since he came up to the Red Sox. He often has a sizable contingent of family who travel to Red Sox road games, particularly at locations close to his home in Ohio. Olivia and Lilly are Andrew's two sisters.
Mookie Betts: "MOOKIE"
Even though it's the first name you know him by, this falls under the nickname category. Mookie's real first name is Markus. His sports-minded parents nicknamed him Mookie in honor of former basketball player Mookie Blaylock.
Tribute patch: MOMS AND POPS -- Betts has a close relationship with both of his parents. His mom was his first coach. His dad loves traveling to Fenway Park, and can often be found on the field during batting practice.
Xander Bogaerts: "X"
The NBA once had Xavier McDaneiel, who was known as the "X" Man. Bogaerts simply goes by "X," which isn't going to take much room on the back of his No. 2 jersey this weekend.
Tribute patch: MOM, JAIR, GLENBAR, FAMILY -- Jair is Xander's brother, who once played in the Red Sox's farm system. Glenbar is his uncle.
Blaine Boyer: "GRANDE ROJO"
Grande means big. Rojo means red. Take one look at Boyer's frame and his hair, and you understand the nickname.
Tribute patch: GIN, LEVI, BENAIAH -- Those are the names of Boyer's wife and two children.
Rajai Davis: "RAJ"
Tribute patch: GOD, MOM, UNCLE, COACH BIDWELL, COACH VARGAS -- "Coach Vargas, he gave me discipline. He made sure you knew you had to be on time for the bus, and on time for practice. You've got to do things to get better. He preached that when I played high school. And Coach Bidwell preached the same things and in developing me as a player at a higher level in junior college."
Rafael Devers: "CARLITA"
"When we were younger and in the Dominican, we would always give each other nicknames and I was the kid who was always smiling and happy, so they said we would call this kid Carlita, which means baby face," said Devers.
Tribute patch: LUCRECA CALCANO --The patch honors his mother. "It's something beautiful for her to be able to see me on TV and doing the same thing I was doing in the Minors," said Devers. "It's a sense of joy that she feels just being able to watch me make my dream come true."
Tribute patch: TOM FARRELL -- Tom Farrell was John's father, who died in 1986 at the age of 86. John Farrell has warm memories of his father, which included working on a lobster boat with him during his youth.
Doug Fister: "FIST"
Tribute patch: MOM&DAD, ASHLEY&BLYTHE -- The patch honors Fister's wife and daughter.
Richard Hembree: "HEATER"
When someone with the first name Heath throws a fastball in the mid 90's, it's only natural his teammates will call him Heater.
Tribute patch: MOM AND DAD
Brock Holt: "BROCK STAR"
"My first roommate in pro ball, Tony Sanchez, wanted me to get a Twitter handle, and I didn't really want one," said Holt. "He made my Twitter and made my handle @Brockstarforlyf and that's where it started and it just kind of stuck from there and people call me Brock Star and it kind of rolls off the tongue nice."
Tribute patch: "MOM AND DAD" and "NAPERSOOOON" -- While honoring his parents was the most important thing to Holt for this weekend's festivities, he also wanted to recognize his favorite former teammate, Mike Napoli. Holt said that Napoli taught him how to be a winning player.
Joe Kelly: "JK"
Millennials use those two letters all the time on social media and text to indicate they are "Just kidding." For Kelly, JK represents his initials.
Tribute patch: MY WIFE AND SON MOM & DAD SIBLINGS
Craig Kimbrel: "DIRTY CRAIG"
The way the baseball explodes out of Kimbrel's right hand can look filthy, nasty or "dirty" to opposing hitters. The big goopy glob on his hat from when he grabs the resin is also extremely dirty.
Sandy Leon: "NOAH"
Tribute patch: FAMILIA
Mitch Moreland: "2-BAGS"
When Moreland belted 11 doubles in his first 61 at-bats for the Red Sox, the nickname "Mitchie Two Bags" started showing up on social media. Moreland obviously saw those mentions, and he will go with that nickname this weekend, or at least part of it.
Tribute patch: POPS -- Moreland's father, Charles, is the first person he called when he got his first promotion to the Major Leagues in 2010. "You could tell he was as choked up as I was," Mitch once told MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan in an interview.
Eduardo Nunez: "NUNIE"
Adding a vowel or two to the end of someone's last name is a long-standing nickname tradition in baseball. Nunez's teammates have always called him "Nunie."
Tribute patch: FAMILIA.
Thomas Pomeranz: "BIG SMOOTH"
"I can't remember if it was David Price or Rick Porcello or maybe a combination of the both of the two, but when I got over here, they wanted to give me a nickname and they came up with this one and it just kind of stuck," Pomeranz said. "Nobody really knew about it outside the team. Everyone knows about it now."
Tribute patch: MOM AND DAD -- "You think about any of us, our parents driving us to and from baseball our whole life," said Pomeranz. "My dad helped me with my curveball and I've never met anyone else who throws it like I do. You really don't think about it when you're little, you just expect it, but now you realize how much your parents have done for you and you're appreciative of it."
Porcello wears No. 22 for the Red Sox, and the Spanish-speaking players have called him the Spanish translation of the number for quite some time.
Tribute patch: MOM DAD ZACK JAKE -- Who could forget the spontaneous celebration that took place in the Porcello household that MLB Network captured when the righty won the American League Cy Young Award last November? It was obvious how much warmth there is in Porcello's family, and he will honor his parents and two brothers on his jersey this weekend.
Hanley Ramirez: "EL TRECE"
Trece is the translation for Ramirez's No. 13.
Tribute patch: MOM AND DAD.
Addison Reed: "REEDER"
For one weekend, Reed's last name will be six letters instead of four. In baseball circles, Reed has been called "Reeder" for many years.
Tribute patch: FAMILY.
Eduardo Rodriguez: "EL GUALO"
The big mystery name. "I'm not going to tell anybody," said Rodriguez. Of all the Red Sox players interviewed by MLB.com, Rodriguez is the only one who wouldn't divulge what the nickname means. Everyone remembers when Rich "El Guapo" Garces pitched for the Red Sox. That one was easy to translate as "the handsome one." But no one seems to know what El Gualo means.
Tribute patch: MAMA & PAPA -- "You have to put mom and dad," said Rodriguez. "They have always been with me all the time since I was a little kid. There's nobody better to put on there than them."
Chris Sale: "STICKMAN"
The name is a reference to Sale's lanky frame, which has been passed down through the generations in his family. Sale loves a good steak as much as anyone, but it simply has never led to weight gain.
Tribute patch: MOM AND DAD
Robby Scott: "BOB O"
"All the guys and coaches have called me that throughout my career," said Scott.
Tribute patch: TO MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS -- "That way I don't leave anyone out. There are too many people along the way who have helped me out to list by name," said Scott.
Christian Vazquez: "COLO"
"That's my Instagram nickname, too," said Vazquez. "They call me that in Puerto Rico in winter ball."
Tribute patch: MOM AND DAD -- "They mean everything," said Vazquez. "They always supported me."
Chris Young: "CY"
Like Kelly, Young simply went with his initials.
Tribute patch: MOM -- "She sacrificed a lot for me to play this game," Young said. "I definitely had a lot of coaches and mentors along the way, but it was my momma that always made sure I had the best bat available on the market."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.