FORT MYERS, Fla. — Mookie Betts isn’t about to get caught up in the hype coming off his near-MVP season.

If you mention NBA star Stephen Curry, his eyes light up and he’ll chat about how much he loves Curry’s game and watching his Golden State Warriors.

Talk to him about his own play, and Betts just shrugs it off as hard work.

Last year, the 24-year-old became a major league star in his second full season, batting .318 with 31 homers and 113 RBI to finish second behind Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels in the AL’s MVP balloting.

He’s relying on his steady demeanor to guide him again this season.

“Yeah, I did pretty well last year, so obviously there’s going to be added expectations and added pressure from the outside,” he said when asked if he was reminded about his stellar 2016 a lot when he was home during the offseason. “But, I know from the inside, I’ve just got to be able to continue to work hard and just let whatever happened happen.”

The right fielder joined elite company in Red Sox history last year. He had two three-homer games, matching Hall of Famer Ted Williams as the only two Red Sox players in more than 100 years with a pair in the same season.

Betts always looks relaxed on the field, after using his quick, smooth swing, solid defensive skills and easygoing attitude to rise rapidly through Boston’s system. Red Sox catcher Blake Swihart played with him during two stops in the minors and knows how laid-back he is most of the time.

“He’s been that way since I met him,” said Swihart, who played with Betts in Class A and Double-A. “He’s got a lot of confidence in himself and he’s going out there every day and he’s proving it. That’s what made him get to the big leagues so quickly and that’s what made him stay for a long time.”

Coming off his first All-Star berth and Gold Glove in 2016, Betts had a simple answer for his success.

“You just know that you have to work. What got me to where I was last year? That’s just hard work,” he said, standing at his locker at the team’s spring training complex. “That’s pretty much what I’m going to continue to do.”

Manager John Farrell doesn’t think last season’s success will have any effect either.

“That’s always going to be case by case, but in Mookie’s situation, he’s such an attentive person,” Farrell said. “His aptitude is some of the best I’ve been around in the game. He’s that bright, he’s that advanced as far as him processing information and applying it in a moment.

“We’re talking about the elite in the game, and the driven and motivated. I don’t think Mookie’s putting added pressure on himself where he has to hit x-number of extra base hits. It’s more he has the ability to stay focused on today.”

Betts knows a lot is expected of him again, now that David Ortiz is retired, and he’s taking it all in stride.

“I’ve just got to try and find a way to do it,” he said. “That’s the only way.”

YANKEES: New York beat Dellin Betances in the year’s final salary arbitration case, and the relief pitcher will be paid $3 million rather than his $5 million request.

The decision gave teams an 8-7 edge in decisions this year, the most hearings since clubs won 10 of 16 decisions in 1994. Players won three of four cases last year.

BLUE JAYS: Slugger Josh Donaldson missed the team’s first full-squad workout because of a calf injury.

Blue Jays Manager John Gibbons said the third baseman tweaked his right calf while running sprints a day earlier.

He was scheduled for an MRI and further evaluation. Donaldson injured the same calf last April but did not miss any significant time.

DODGERS: Clayton Kershaw will make his seventh straight opening-day start for the Dodgers, tying Don Sutton’s franchise record.

NATIONALS: Outfielder Bryce Harper says he knows “exactly why” his production dipped last season from his MVP-winning performance a year earlier – but he did not elaborate.

After saying he did know what happened to make him go from the youngest unanimous MVP in baseball history in 2015, to a .243 hitter in 2016, Harper evaded questions that tried to pin him down on the reasons.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.