Saturday, January 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Longoria receives Don Zimmer Award as Rays MVP (w/ video)

ST. PETERSBURG — 3B Evan Longoria thought of Don Zimmer as he shaved Friday morning. Soot Zimmer had told her late husband she preferred Longoria without facial hair.

Longoria saw Soot a few hours later when she presented him with the Don Zimmer Award as the Rays MVP for this season. The presentation was at the annual end-of-season Clutch Hitters Luncheon at the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront.

"Every time I look at her I see Zim in her," Longoria said.

Longoria has often talked about Zimmer's influence on his career. The two often played cards together before games.

"I loved Don. He meant a lot to me," Longoria said. "Receiving an award in his name is a tremendous honor."

Longoria also received the Paul C. Smith Champion Award, given to the Ray who best exemplifies the spirit of true professionalism on and off the field. The award is named after Smith, the former sports editor of the Tampa Tribune who passed away in 2005 while covering the Rays for MLB.com.

LHP Blake Snell was named the Rays rookie of the year.

The awards were voted on by the Tampa Bay chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Longoria was the unanimous winner for MVP. He entered Friday's game against the visiting Red Sox leading the team in batting (.279), home runs (a career-high 36) and RBIs (95).

Longoria said his success this season is due in part to his willingness to change from his routine last offseason to widening stance at the plate in May.

"I don't think any of us ever look to make changes," Longoria said. "I think change kind of finds you."

TOP MINOR LEAGUERS: 1B Casey Gillaspie was named the Rays' minor league player of the year, and RHP Brent Honeywell was named the organization's minor league pitcher of the year. OF Zac Law received the Erik Walker Community Champion.

Gillaspie hit .284 with 18 home runs and 64 RBIs while splitting his season between Montgomery and Durham.

"I feel very honored that they chose me for this award," Gillaspie said. "You look at our organization, there are so many young players and great players that we have."

Honeywell was 7-3 with an organization-best 2.34 ERA while pitching at both Charlotte and Montgomery.

"It's an honor," Honeywell said. "I can't thank 'em enough just because they put a lot of time and effort in me and I give 'em everything I got."

MINOR-LEAGUE AWARDS: Team MVPs were: RH Austin Pruitt (Triple-A Durham), 1B/OF Jake Bauers (Double-A Montgomery), RH Greg Harris (High A Charlotte), INF Michael Russell (Low A Bowling Green), LH Travis Ott, (Short season A Hudson Valley), OF Eleardo Cabrera (rookie league Princeton), OF Jesus Sanchez (GCL Rays), C Ronaldo Hernandez (Dominican Summer League Rays 1) and OF Sabriel Polanco (Dominican Summer League Rays 2).

OF Jake Fraley won the baserunner of the year award, RH Joe Serrapica was reliever of the year and C Nick Ciuffo was defensive player of the year.

NOTEWORTHY: RF Steven Souza Jr. (hip surgery) said he should be cleared to resume baseball activities by Jan. 1 and expects to be ready for spring training … 1B/DH Logan Morrison said his wrist surgery has been rescheduled for Oct. 4 … The Rays celebrated Roberto Clemente Day on Friday as part of Hispanic Heritage Night.

 
Comments
Rays infielder Daniel Robertson lends a hand to help families dealing with cancer

Rays infielder Daniel Robertson lends a hand to help families dealing with cancer

Rays infielder Daniel Robertson has much to be excited about heading into his second season in the majors.But before packing for spring training, he took some time last weekend to provide help for families needing assistance in dealing with cancer.Hi...
Published: 01/19/18
Ex-Rays star Longoria dons Giants jersey, looks forward to full-stadium environment in San Francisco

Ex-Rays star Longoria dons Giants jersey, looks forward to full-stadium environment in San Francisco

Longtime Rays star Evan Longoria was formally introduced in San Francisco today, adding the visual of him pulling on his new Giants jersey, switching to No. 10 since 3 is retired.Longoria said he welcomed the chance to play on a contending team stock...
Published: 01/19/18
What do Rays look like now? What will they look like March 29?

What do Rays look like now? What will they look like March 29?

ST. PETERSBURG — Since entering an off-season planning major change and pledging to be open to "anything and everything,'' the Rays have made a few minor moves and one massive one in trading franchise cornerstone Evan Longoria to San Francisco....
Published: 01/19/18
Reminder: Rays spring tickets go on sale today at 10 a.m.

Reminder: Rays spring tickets go on sale today at 10 a.m.

The Rays will put single game tickets for spring training home games on sale today at 10 a.m. via raysbaseball.com.The Rays are playing 14 home games in Port Charlotte, starting with the Feb. 23 opener vs. Pittsburgh. Tickets will be available at the...
Published: 01/19/18
Tampa Bay Rays 2018 spring training schedule

Tampa Bay Rays 2018 spring training schedule

Charlotte Sports Park, 2300 El Jobean Rd., Port Charlotte, 33948Get tickets here: (941) 206-4487Pitchers report: Feb. 13. Squad reports: Feb. 19TEAM SCHEDULE(games at 1:05 unless noted)(ss - split squad)Feb 23 at Orioles (ss) (Sarasota)Feb 23 PIRATE...
Published: 01/19/18
Ex-Phillies, Indians manager Charlie Manuel to get Ted Williams Museum award

Ex-Phillies, Indians manager Charlie Manuel to get Ted Williams Museum award

Former Phillies and Indians manager Charlie Manuel will receive the Ted Williams Lifetime Achievement Award on Feb. 10 in Clearwater.The honor is bestowed by the Ted Williams Museum at its annual Hitters Hall of Fame induction, moving this year from ...
Published: 01/19/18
Former Rays OF Matt Joyce to hold annual charity baseball camp at North Brandon complex

Former Rays OF Matt Joyce to hold annual charity baseball camp at North Brandon complex

Armwood High product Matt Joyce, the current A's and former Rays outfielder, hosts his ninth annual Sweet Swingin' charity baseball camp for kids 6-12 on Sunday at the North Brandon youth baseball complex (2929 S Kingsway Rd, Seffner).Registration st...
Published: 01/18/18
Rays spring tickets go on sale Friday

Rays spring tickets go on sale Friday

The Rays will put single game tickets for spring training home games on sale Friday at 10 a.m. via raysbaseball.com.The Rays are playing 14 home games in Port Charlotte, starting with the Feb. 23 opener vs. Pittsburgh. Tickets will be available at th...
Published: 01/17/18
A look at Rays 40-man roster with spring training starting in less than a month

A look at Rays 40-man roster with spring training starting in less than a month

With the start of spring training now less than a month away, here is what the Rays roster looks like, with the most glaring hole at first base, which at this point seems likely to be manned by Brad Miller, and some questions about the pitching staff...
Published: 01/17/18
Rays opener will be late-afternoon affair

Rays opener will be late-afternoon affair

The Rays' March 29 season-opener against the Red Sox has been set for a 4 p.m. first pitch at Tropicana Field.This will be the ninth straight year the Rays have opened at home, and the third time they have opened against the rival Red Sox.  The ...
Published: 01/17/18