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Rafael Devers has taken his place, including in the clubhouse, as the face of the Red Sox

Third baseman Rafael Devers signed autographs for fans as the Red Sox held their first official workout of spring training.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Like real estate, the key to having a good locker in a baseball clubhouse is location, location, location.

Rafael Devers moved into the high-rent district at JetBlue Park this week, taking over a space that originally belonged to David Ortiz when the facility opened in 2012 and was later passed down to Dustin Pedroia and J.D. Martinez.

It’s a corner spot near the door that leads out to the practice fields. There’s extra space for a small bench on the side and Devers has his own mirror.

It’s a penthouse and the 26-year-old Devers has a long-term lease after agreeing to an 11-year, $331 million contract last month.


It’s the longest and richest deal in team history. Somewhere out there is a 12-year-old kid who could be Devers’s teammate someday, that’s how long his deal is.

But job security hasn’t changed the Red Sox third baseman.

Devers, seen here working out in Fort Myers Wednesday, has grown into one of the Red Sox' leaders.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

He arrived in camp on Tuesday after spending six weeks in Tampa working with former major leaguer Grégor Blanco to be ready for spring training.

The two met up at a high school field every day, Devers getting his work done in anonymity as people walked by not knowing a two-time All-Star with a career .854 OPS was taking grounders.

One of the few breaks Devers took was to attend the NHL All-Star Game across the state in Sunrise.

Turns out that Devers is a hockey fan. He got a signed jersey and stick from Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin after the game.

“He’s like [Albert] Pujols for hockey, right?” Devers said. “Big guy.”

That’s a pretty good comparison. Raffy Devers is a puckhead. Who knew?

Devers has worked with Blanco for a few years and credits him with the improvement he has made defensively at third base.

“I didn’t change anything. I know that works for me,” Devers said.


Devers took questions from reporters for 11 minutes after coming off the field. He speaks English increasingly well but prefers using a translator to relay his answers, especially in a group setting with television cameras running.

For international players, there is always a concern that something could be misconstrued and a translator guards against that.

But Devers understands his contract carries with it a duty to represent the team to the public and in time, the answers will come directly from him.

Over the last few years, manager Alex Cora and the players have seen Devers change. Nobody, they will tell you, gets more upset after a loss.

“He’s been locked-in with the team the whole time,” Cora said. “His input is important. He’s the same kid; just getting ready to play. This guy, he’s been a leader of this team for a while here. When he talks in that clubhouse, it’s important.”

An example: Kiké Hernández suggested on Monday that the Sox were too comfortable being in last place.

Devers grimaced when he heard that. He certainly didn’t feel that way.

“We were embarrassed by what we did last year,” he said. “It was something that happened last year and nobody was happy about it. Now we turn the page.”

Devers enjoyed himself this offseason, which included a January trip to the Garden for a Celtics' game.Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff

Devers will leave Sox camp early next month to join the Dominican Republic and prepare for the World Baseball Classic.

That experience, playing with Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Manny Machado, Julio Rodriguez, Juan Soto, and other stars, will further shape Devers.


Playing for the Dominican Republic for the first time is something special for him.

“For me to be able to represent a country with so many talented players in all of baseball, we’re going to give 100 percent,” he said. “I’m super happy and proud about that.”

So, who is the best player on the Dominican Republic roster? Devers laughed and waited a bit before responding.

“I can’t tell you one name,” was his diplomatic answer.

For a second it seemed Devers would say that he is.

That’s the type of confidence you want to see from a player who is now at the center of everything.

Peter Abraham can be reached at Follow him @PeteAbe.