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 at the plate: DNP. Willy Aybar started at third and went 0-2.
Quotes: None reported.
Summary: The Dirtbag has played 3 official games (and 1 rained out game) and 17 innings at the hot corner. Aybar has appeared in 5 games and played 24 innings at third base. Longoria is 2-7 with 4 walks and 1 strikeout. The Rays have a difficult situation they have to deal with. They would probably love to send Longoria out there everyday and see if he is ready, BUT, if he is not, they also need to get Aybar ready. And keep in mind that Aybar did not play in 2007, so he will need extra work also. And of course if Ben Zobrist is going to be the Rays utility-guy, he needs to get a few innings in at third also. This is where split-squad games will start coming in handy.