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 Ray 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: With the Rays down 2-1 in the 6th, Longoria was called in to pinch-hit. He hit a 2-run triple to right-center to give the Rays the lead for good. He later walked. He is now 2-3 with a double, triple, 2 walks and 3 RBI in the Rays first two games.
Quotes: “You can call him, ‘Evan Almighty.'”- Jason Bartlett “Just watching how he handles things, watching his general demeanor, obviously his defense, too. Handling situations in general. Of course, the hitting is a source of evaluation. Again, this guy has not spent much time in the Minor Leagues, and we have to consider that, too.” – Joe Maddon.
Summary: Wow. Could the kid have gotten off to a better start? On base four times in five plate appearances. Twice, his hits have given the Rays a lead. Drives in runs when given a chance. Reports are that his play in the field has been solid…There is still a long ways to go, but can the Rays even think about sending him to Durham now? If they were leaning that way they should have made the announcement prior to Spring Training.