ST. PETERSBURG -- The Royals' Billy Butler was spared grounding into his 15th double play in Monday night's 5-1 loss to the Rays when second baseman Ryan Roberts' relay ripped through the webbing of first baseman Jeff Keppinger's glove.
Butler was safe and Keppinger was charged with an error in the sixth-inning play. A similar mishap befell Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer late last season.
"The only time I've ever seen that is on first base mitts," Hosmer said. "When I was in high school, it'd happen to me once every other two weeks. You catch so many balls, the webbing just gets looser and looser and after a while, it's just going to snap. You've got to keep oiling your glove or the string will just dry out and rip off with all that impact."
So maybe Keppinger just erred in not oiling his glove. At any rate, he had to play first base with a regular fielder's mitt for a couple pitches while another first baseman's glove was fetched from the clubhouse.
Didn't matter. Salvador Perez promptly rapped into a double play, and this time Roberts' throw stuck in Keppinger's mitt.