Live from Port Charlotte: Maddon's cleveriness ('09 is greater than '08), Longoria's absence
UPDATE, 2:33: No issues during the first full-squad workout, and among the more interesting observations was how good Crawford looked, having spent this off-season working out hard as usual, but also on grass in Houston, rather than on turf in Arizona as he had the last few years, and with a trainer who specializes in hamstrings, so his legs should be strong all season.
Pena said he felt great as recovers from January surgery to repair two tears in his lower abdominal muscle. Maddon said Longoria was in obvious discomfort from his wisdom teeth extractions so they told him to stay off the field. The arbitration-hearing avoiding deal with Willy Aybar that's been in the works for a week is expected to be finalized this afternoon. According to SI.com, it's worth about $2.6-million with some escalator clauses.
UPDATE, 12:20: Here's early word on the new slogan, at least unofficially: '09 is greater than '08. And in shorthand, we're guessing: '09 > '08.
UPDATE, 11:50: Doesn't sound like anything major with Longoria. According to the Rays, he left the field after feeling some discomfort from his wisdom teeth extractions on Friday and they "are just being cautious against any possible infection.''
Also, word is that INF Ray Olmedo will make it to camp later this afternoon.
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Manager Joe Maddon revealed this year's motivational slogan to the players during his pre-workout address, and said he will make it public after today's session. "It's not that big a deal,'' he said. "It's clever. Or at least I've been told it's clever. I'll tell you guys this afternoon.''
The Rays are spread out all over the 5-1/2 practice fields, and there a few hundred fans on a sunny day. 3B Evan Longoria is not taking part in the drills with the other infielders; he was on the field earlier, but appears to have gone back inside. Not sure why or what it means yet -- he did have his wisdom teeth taken out last week.
The first casualty of the spring was senior advisor Don Zimmer, who had to get a cortisone shot in his left knee this morning after stepping in a hole while moving between fields on Tuesday. Zimmer is using a golf cart to get around today.
(Pictured: Carlos Pena, right, shares a laugh with teammates. Times photo -- James Borchuck. Click to enlarge.)