Glove story: Phillies arrive to find mitts waiting

Glove story: Phillies arrive to find mitts waiting

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Jerad Eickhoff arrived at Spectrum Field before Phillies pitchers and catchers held their first workout Tuesday to find a new black glove with red stitching sitting at his locker.

He had designed the custom mitt in the offseason after signing a new contract with Wilson. Eickhoff went online and entered his personal specifications and preferences. He selected the style of the glove, its length and width, and the colors of the leather, laces, stitching and logo.

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"Everything is right there," Eickhoff said of the online design tool. "You pump it out, submit it and two months later you have a glove. It was fun to do. I had never done that before."

He picked up another glove Friday morning, when representatives from Wilson set up shop in the back of the Phillies' clubhouse. It is an annual spring tradition: glove, bat, shoe, sunglasses companies and more (everything from custom-made suits to personalized paintings) show up for a day to do business with their clients.

"I had always wondered how it worked," Eickhoff said.

Phillies infielder Andres Blanco also signed a new deal with Wilson, but he spent a little more time on his gloves than Eickhoff, who needs only one as a pitcher. Blanco is a utility man, so he has four: infield, outfield, first base and catcher.

"I don't know how I'm going to break them all in," Blanco said. "I'm hoping they'll be ready by the beginning of the season. Maybe somebody will help me out."

The key to a good infielder's glove?

"The pocket," Blanco said. "If you've got a deep pocket, the rest doesn't matter."

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.