Willits earning a nickname

Teammates Robb Quinlan and Mike Napoli were on Reggie Willits before Wednesday’s game, telling the rookie to switch his number to match his new nickname that has started to catch on. Those players, anyway, were referring to Willits as “32,” a reference to his knack at the plate of consistently taking counts full to 3-2. Erick Aybar currently owns the number so it would take some compensation to convince Aybar to make the change.

Willits said it isn’t likely to happen. Willits currently wears No. 77 as a tribute to his favorite player while growing up. Willits admired then Cleveland Indians outfielder Kenny Lofton, who still wears No. 7 with the Texas Rangers. The reason Willits has two 7s is because when he came up last year most of the numbers with 7 in them were taken. Mickey Hatcher has No. 7, Darin Erstad had No. 17, Vladimir Guerrero wears No. 27, Greg Jones was No. 37, Howie Kendrick has No. 47 and Francisco Rodriguez has No. 57. Willits was left with Nos. 67 and 77 so he went with the double 7s.

Napoli suggested Willits would be able to buy No. 7 off of Hatcher, but Willits didn’t seem comfortable going that route. Perhaps he will make on offer once he has more time in the big leageus.

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