Longoria: Bring it on
The Rays said Tuesday they'd give top prospect Evan Longoria the chance to show in spring training if he's ready to be the opening day third baseman. And Longoria said Wednesday he welcomes the challenge.
"I'm feeling pretty good coming into the spring so I was just hoping that they would let me play and ... let them make the decision after the spring,'' Longoria said after working out with more than 30 other early reportees to the Naimoli complex.
"That's basically what I came into spring hoping would happen,'' Longoria said. "If they would have made the decision early, obviously if I was in the big leagues that would be good, but I feel like now it just puts a little more added pressure on me, which I like. It's going to make me work harder.''
Longoria, 22, is confident he can make the jump to the majors despite only 1 1/2 years in the minor leagues. The Rays expect him to be in the big leagues sometime this season, but may decide to give him a few more months seasoning. If so, Willy Aybar or Joel Guzman would be the likely starter.
"I couldn't come in thinking I wasn't going to get the job,'' Longoria said. "All I can do is stay positive, have a good spring and put the pressure on them to make a decision.''
- Rays officials will hold their official pre-spring media conference on Thursday.
- Reliever Juan Salas is the only pitcher or catcher not expected to report in time for Friday's first workout, delayed due to visa problems.
- Ex-Ray Greg Norton got a job, signing a minor-league deal with the Mariners.