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Rafael Devers is looking forward to seeing Xander Bogaerts, even in a different uniform

Xander Bogaerts (left) and Rafael Devers were virtually inseparable during their time together in Boston.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

For most of six seasons in Boston, Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts seemed attached by Velcro. They were neighbors in the lineup, in the infield, in the clubhouse. They were generally inseparable from the time they arrived at the ballpark until the time they left — and sometimes not even then.

And so, this season has been one in which Devers encounters a palpable void every day when he shows up to work. Bogaerts is now in San Diego after signing an 11-year, $280 million deal in the winter. Devers remains in Boston as the anchor of the Red Sox thanks to the 10-year, $313.5 million extension that he signed.


On Friday, when the Padres and Red Sox kick off a three-game series in San Diego’s Petco Park, the two will once again be together at a ballpark, but under very different circumstances, with Devers getting his first in-person look at Bogaerts in a Padres uniform.

“It’s going to feel a little bit weird because we spent so much time together playing here with the Red Sox,” Devers said through translator Carlos Villoria-Benítez. “It’s going to feel a little bit off.”

The two remain close. Devers said he and Bogaerts call each other every day, discussing what they see in each other in games but also the rhythms of their lives.

Still, even with daily check-ins, the dynamic has changed.

“Of course it feels weird to not be able to talk to him every day here and just do it over the phone,” Devers said. “It’s obviously something different and weird, but I’m glad the place that he is right now.

“The good thing is the relationship didn’t stop when he left. That’s the thing that I’m really happy about, that we kept that relationship and we still have that good relationship.”


And at 26, Devers is mature enough to accept that the business of the game requires adjusting to shifting relationships. He expresses happiness for both his good friend and his own situation.

“He is a great player with a great contract,” said Devers. “I’m really happy here with a great contract. For both of us, I think it worked very well.”

Teammates describe Devers’s bubbly, joyfully competitive personality as unchanged by the shifting circumstances of his career and financial outlook.

“Same guy. That’s a term of endearment,” said infielder Christian Arroyo. “He’s still the same Raffy.”

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Yet there are subtle differences that suggest Devers has a growing voice within the team. He was extremely deferential to Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez, the little brother who relied on his more experienced siblings to assume the largest voices in the room.

With both gone, Devers has been a more active contributor in several settings.

“It’s a change of perspective,” said third base coach Carlos Febles. “He knows he’s the guy. That’s the bottom line. He still eats the humble pie, and it’s not like he’s acting different because of his contract. But he knows, like, ‘I’m the man now. There’s no J.D. here. There’s not a Bogey anymore. It’s me.’

“He’s more vocal in meetings. Whenever he’s got something, he says it now. He might go through two weeks without saying anything, but when he does, people definitely listen.

“It might be about approach, like saying, ‘You have to step on this guy’s neck,’ or, ‘The catcher’s framing, so get on top of him so the umpire can’t see it.’ Stuff like that.”


Kiké Hernández noted that Devers speaks up more in the clubhouse, in the batting cage, and during mound visits.

“You can tell he’s a little more comfortable talking and he’s showing a little bit more mature side of him,” said Hernández. “He’s showing more of a leader role.”

Even Bogaerts is aware of the shift.

“That’s my guy. I’m proud of him,” said Bogaerts. “He’s taking on a bigger role now after getting his contract, talking to other players or [the media] and getting comfortable with speaking English.”

While his role in the team’s culture is shifting, Devers’s place in the heart of the Red Sox lineup remains unchanged.

“He’s still the threat in the middle of our order,” said hitting coach Pete Fatse. “He’s the guy everyone has circled. And obviously he’s a big part of what we’re doing here.”

Rafael Devers is second in MLB with 40 RBIs.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

In some ways, it has been an uneven start to the season for Devers. He is crushing the ball with metronomic regularity to all fields. His average exit velocity is currently 93.0 m.p.h.; he has averaged between 92.9 and 93.1 every year since 2020.

His power numbers remain impressive. Devers has 11 homers (tied for sixth in baseball), and his brilliance with runners on base (.329/.377/.711 with a 13 percent strikeout rate) has helped him drive in 40 runs, second in the big leagues. Yet Devers frowned when taking stock of his overall performance en route to a .259/.304/.524 line.


“I have good numbers, but I don’t feel comfortable with those numbers,” he said. “I’m an average hitter as well. I think that I have more to give and to improve. I haven’t felt 100 percent in the box. I haven’t felt really comfortable.

“That’s something that, when everything clicks, I’m going to get really hot. I’m looking forward to that day.”

While that remains his primary focus, Devers is also looking forward to Friday — and the chance to once again be at the ballpark with his good friend.

“I’m excited and looking forward to that game,” he said.

Peter Abraham of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

Alex Speier can be reached at alex.speier@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @alexspeier.