We call him The Dirtbag because of how he plays and because he played college ball at Long Beach State whose baseball team has the coolest mascot in sports…The Dirtbags.
The biggest question mark for the Tampa Bay Rays in Spring Training is whether or not Evan Longoria will be named the opening day third baseman. Manager Joe Maddon has repeatedly stated that the decision will be based less on his stats, and more on how the 22-year old handles himself on a day-to-day basis and how well The Dirtbag adjusts to everyday life as a major leaguer. From now until the Rays announce a decision on Longoria’s fate, we will track The Dirtbag’s progress through his numbers, our own observations and quotes from Maddon and Andrew Friedman…
Yesterday: Evan Longoria started at third base going 1-2 with his third home run and a walk. He grounded out to end the third. In the 5th, he homered with 2 outs and the bases empty. In the 7th, Longoria drew a walk with men on second and third and nobody out. In the field he handled one ground ball to end the fifth and started a double play that ended the 6th.
Quotes: “Right now” is Upton’s assessment of when Longoria will be ready. [USA Today]
Summary: Yesterday’s home run was particularly impressive because it was the first base runner allowed by Cole Hamels after being perfect for 4.2 innings in what by most accounts was a Cole Hamels in mid-season form, tossing a gem…. On the spring, The Dirtbag has 3 home runs. .488 OBP. 1.255 OPS. 9 walks, 5 strikeouts…More telling? Longoria has started three straight games. We have heard the rumors that Longoria is on his way down to the minors at the end of the week, but the team has said he will be on the opening day roster if he is ready…The Dirtbag is ready.