Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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Longoria Sent Down
Posted Mar 24, 2008 by Marc Lancaster
Updated Mar 24, 2008 at 06:09 PM
Following today’s game, the Rays reassigned top prospect 3B Evan Longoria to minor-league camp. He will begin the season at Triple-A Durham.
Longoria said he wasn’t necessarily surprised by the decision and ‘‘had a feeling’’ it might be coming.
“They made the decision, whether it was based on my performance, based on what they need, based on the business side of it – I don’t know,” he said. “It was made, and I’ll accept it and handle it.”
Longoria said he felt like he did what he needed to do on and off the field to state his case for sticking around, but obviously the call wasn’t his to make. No one would offer a timetable for when he might return, but he said he hoped it wouldn’t be too long.
“I think it’s going to be based on what I do and how my at-bats and how I handle things down there goes,” he said. “I’m confident that I can handle it down there and the sooner I can become comfortable and show them I’m ready, the sooner I’ll be here.”
Andrew Friedman said it was a “tough decision” that required plenty of discussion among the front office and coaching staff.
“We spent a lot of time thinking about it,” said Friedman. “It wasn’t a unanimous decision, but it’s one of those things that I think with the way he played this year and the way he carried himself, I think his timetable has been expedited even in our minds.”
As for the thought that the only reason the Rays would send Longoria down is to delay his arbitration and free agency clock, Friedman dismissed it.
“It’s something that for us is virtually irrelevant in this,” he said. “As we’ve demonstrated with Crawford and Rocco and Shields and Pena, we are committed to signing our good young players long-term. We’ve demonstrated it in the past and will continue to demonstrate it. If and when that does happen, it would render that irrelevant.”
In addition, SS Reid Brignac also was reassigned to minor-league camp and will join Longoria in Durham.
Updating with some additional info on David Price. He saw Dr. Koco Eaton today and was diagnosed with a muscle strain in his left elbow. It isn’t considered serious, but the combination of having to shut him down for a while and then build him all the way back up to a starter’s workload likely means it will be six weeks before he makes his first start for Vero Beach. Price will be in extended spring training until then working his way back.
“The good news is obviously it’s nothing significant,” Friedman said. “We had that sense pretty soon after it happened, but it’s always good to get confirmation. Hearing the report, the biggest delay is going to be just in terms of building him back up, not necessarily getting him healthy.”