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 will get chance to earn spot
Posted Feb 12, 2008 by Marc Lancaster
Updated Feb 12, 2008 at 04:14 PM
It sounds as if Evan Longoria’s status to open the season will be determined the old-fashioned way: on the field.
Last month, the Rays floated the possibility of determining Longoria’s status before spring training even began, with the idea that doing so might ease some of the pressure on their top prospect. Manager Joe Maddon seemed skeptical of that course of action at the time, and he said today that no preemptive decision will be made.
“We’re just going to have him come into camp and we’re just going to watch it as it progresses and then we’ll make our decision,” said Maddon. “We’re not going to pre-set it before camp.”
Maddon said he and Andrew Friedman had discussed the matter and felt it best to keep Longoria’s situation “fluid” while observing how he handles the various challenges of playing at the big-league level, both on and off the field. Beyond that, Maddon just wants to see Longoria play regularly before making a call. The third baseman got only a handful of at-bats in a courtesy look during spring training last year.
“I’ve got to see it on the field,” said Maddon. “I have not really been on the field with this guy. I mean, I love him. I’ve seen him in the [Arizona] Fall League and I’ve had conversations and gone out to dinner – he’s a major-leaguer, there’s no question. When is the right time to make that happen? That’s what we’ve got to figure out.”