Glove love: Tigers try microwave, bat to break 'em in

Glove love: Tigers try microwave, bat to break 'em in

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Andrew Romine is a candidate to fill Don Kelly's old role as the Tigers' superutility player. He has not yet reached Kelly replacement level on the number of gloves he carries around, having brought five to camp.

One of those is his middle-infield glove, the same glove Romine has used in games ever since he turned pro eight years ago.

"During the offseason, I seal it up," Romine said.

Infielders have been known to be particular about their gloves. Former Tigers and longtime Major League shortstop Adam Everett used the same glove for seven years, to the point where it was falling apart, because he couldn't find a new one that fit as well. That's the case with Romine, who has worked his glove to a point soft enough that he barely has to close it when fielding a ground ball.

Other Tigers infielders are more willing to replace their glove, but they take particular steps to break them in. Miguel Cabrera gets a new glove every year, and he picked up a couple at the start of camp when the glove manufacturers came through. However, he puts them through workouts to get them ready. He also puts them in the microwave.

"Twenty seconds, and it's ready," he said.

He's not the only one. Former Tigers utility infielder Ramon Santiago did the same with every new glove. Santiago also used to beat up his gloves with a bat to soften them up.

Surprisingly, slick-fielding Jose Iglesias isn't that particular. He goes through gloves every other year, he said, but doesn't go to extremes to work them in. He can work in a new glove in one Spring Training and have it ready for Opening Day.

"As long as it feels comfortable, it's good," Iglesias said. "I just like to use whatever feels comfortable."

Iglesias doesn't have to do that this spring. After missing last season with stress fractures in both legs, he still has his glove from 2013.

He has years to go with that to catch up with Romine, who has his game glove sealed up. He has two backups he's working in this spring for that day when he has to bid his old glove farewell. Thanks to his work in the outfield, he now has that glove, too.

"Talk about a weird glove," Romine said. "The most awkward feeling on your hand."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.