ST. LOUIS — Ryan Mountcastle could buy his own gloves.

He’s in his fifth major league season, making $4.1 million. But, if he did go out and purchase his own glove, he would have to break it in, something he despises and that takes him about a month to get right.

And why would he if his old buddy Chris Davis is willing do it for him? Davis, who is retired after 13 major league seasons, the last 10 with the Orioles, gave Mountcastle his extra first baseman’s glove in 2019, when the Orioles wanted Mountcastle, then their No. 2 prospect, to try the new position. He’s since given Mountcastle two others, and he is working on breaking another one in now. He’ll give to him when the team travels to Texas next month.

“I don’t know, I just like the way he does it, the way he forms them and the way they look,” Mountcastle said. “He’s so good at it. I’m terrible at breaking them in.”

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In 2019, the Orioles were just trying to find a spot for Mountcastle, a power-hitting prospect drafted as a shortstop, to get to the majors. He would debut as a left fielder — a place that he knows was not his, uh, strong suit — spending time there and at first before saying goodbye to the outfield in 2022.

“It was a little crazy, I wasn’t a big fan of it, but it was what I needed to do to get into the lineup,” Mountcastle said. “Once I finally made a home at first, it’s a lot easier to just focus on one position.”

Still, things didn’t always come easily at first either. He had five errors his first year there, but he has slowly improved over the past three years, thanks to his pregame work ethic. Mountcastle is on the field four hours before every game, regardless of whether he’s playing the field that night, taking ground balls with infield coach Tony Mansolino.

“He takes his defense extremely seriously, it’s important to him and he wants to be good at it and he’s become really good at it,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “That’s just from all the work he puts in every day with Tony. He literally does not take a day off from working on his defense, and it’s paid off.”

Last year, Mountcastle was a Gold Glove finalist, something, he said, he didn’t expect in a million years to happen to him. This year, he’s taken it a step further, putting himself in the conversation to win the award.

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Mountcastle says he is not good at breaking in his gloves, so he has gotten former Oriole Chris Davis to do it for him. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Banner)

His highlight reel is growing. A soaring diving catch against the Angels. A quick pick against the Yankees to start a double play. And, more important to him, the ability to make the routine play almost every time.

In addition to his skills improving, Mountcastle said, he’s more focused and confident now playing the position.

“I always worked really hard on defense because I knew that was always the chink in the armor,” he said. “Just finally for people to think I’m a solid defender now is pretty cool. It’s never been easy for me.”