Each spring, the Red Sox are given advice on all things healthy, from what to eat for breakfast to how to cool down after a long game. Mixed in there is even advice on the smallest little items, vitamins, which can have a big impact.
In a sport emerging from controversy surrounding what players can and cannot put in their bodies, those little pills with the "100 percent" daily dosage remain fixtures for many players and are often visible in several clubhouse lockers.
"If I'm starting to feel rundown, I might incorporate [vitamins]," said reliever Daniel Bard, who said he took them regularly earlier in his career but has used them more selectively of late.
Along with the omnipresent tubs of bubble gum and hard candy laid out on tables in the clubhouse are containers of multivitamins, which can supplement imbalanced diets that are tough to maintain over the course of a baseball season.
"Think of vitamin supplements as low-cost insurance," said Dr. George Blackburn, director of the Center For the Study of Nutrition Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. "A multivitamin should cost you no more than five cents per day and if you are not eating a healthy diet, it may help."
Dr. Blackburn explained that vitamins should never replace a well-balanced diet.
"Adding a vitamin daily doesn't mean you can go crazy on fast food," he said.
There are times when the little things are lost amid stretching programs, injury treatments and the daily mental grind. It's a matter of taking a personal inventory on a daily basis and throwing in what you need to keep you going.
"Once the season gets going, you kinda do what you gotta do, do what you need to do," Bard said. "Within the guidelines, of course."
The guidelines are in place to prevent anything foreign from entering the bloodstream, a response to steroid abuse which was exposed in the previous decade.
As with anything, vitamins must be taken in moderation, as it's generally inadvisable to stray from the recommended doses. Many players do just that with important vitamins, with those "little things" becoming a big part of their wellness routines.