Saturday, June 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Longoria named AL player of the week, eyes All-Star Game

PHOENIX — 3B Evan Longoria was appreciative of winning American League player of the week accolades for his robust showing over the previous seven games, his seventh such award but first since May 2013.

"It's an honor," Longoria said. "This league gets tougher and tougher every year. So to win one again feels good. It feels really good to put the work in and then for it to pay off."

Longoria's seven-game stat line was impressive, hitting .464 with five homers and nine RBIs.

"It should feel really good," manager Kevin Cash said. "It feels good for us for the production he has had and the way he's carried a huge load."

Longoria, hitting .281 with 14 homers and 34 RBIs after extending his hitting streak to 10 games Monday, admits he has his eye on a bigger prize: his first trip to the All-Star Game since 2010.

"I love the opportunity to represent the American League," he said. "The All-Star Game, there's nothing else like it."

Longoria said that each year, he and his family take note of the host city if he is chosen (San Diego this year) then plan a vacation getaway if he is not.

"That's always plan No. 1 when the season starts because it's such an honor, and I want to make the team," he said.

PEARCE UPDATE: With no DH available, INF Steve Pearce was not in the lineup as the Rays didn't want to risk a setback to his significantly improved right elbow. Pearce said the plan is for limited duty during this series (pinch-hit, first base if needed) then a return to the lineup Friday at home. "It's so much better," he said. "It's really making progress. It's just unfortunate the timing that we're playing a National League team."

MITCHELL BROTHERS: From their days in the Palm Harbor Little League through Mitchell High and into pro ball, Rays RHP Ryan Garton has always been a couple of years behind D'backs RHP Tyler Clippard.

Until Monday, when they would play against each other for the first time — and at the big-league level at that.

"That's pretty cool," Garton said.

Clippard played with Garton's older brother, Eddie, and on teams coached by Garton's dad, Ed, and their families are close. When Garton got into town Sunday, Clippard took him to dinner. At some point this week, they hope to get a photo together in uniform. "He's pumped for me," Garton said. "He's been watching my career."

Both are hoping to be joined soon in the majors by a third Mustang, as LHP Patrick Schuster is pitching well in relief for Oakland's Triple-A Nashville team.

PITCHING IN: The Rays have not announced their pitching plans for the weekend series against Houston, and moved scheduled Friday starter RHP Matt Andriese to the bullpen for Tuesday's game at least.

That could be a sign they are considering calling up top LHP prospect Blake Snell, who just won Triple-A International League pitcher of the week honors for back-to-back scoreless starts and last worked for Durham on Sunday, which puts him on schedule to pitch Friday. Snell tweeted over the weekend, "What I gotta do".

MINOR MATTERS: INF Ryan Brett is out for the season after having previously unannounced Tommy John elbow surgery in May. … Nick Ciuffo, one of the top catching prospects, is out for an extended time after fracturing his right pinky finger playing for advanced Class A Charlotte.

DESMOND SIGHTING: Facing Arizona LHP Robbie Ray, OF Desmond Jennings made his first start since Wednesday, Cash saying they need either Jennings (hitting .171 going into Monday) or Mikie Mahtook (.128) to get hot as the replacement for injured CF Kevin Kiermaier. Both had multi-hit games and Jennings reached base four times for the first time since June 2014.

.MISCELLANY: 2B Logan Forsythe (shoulder fracture) did a full batting and fielding workout at the Trop Monday and remains on track to rejoin the team on a nine-game homestand that starts Friday. ... OF INF Tim Beckham homered in the fifth, his third. … Six of the hitters in the Rays lineup had sub .200 averages. .. . … First pitch temperature was 108 degrees outside, 81 inside Chase Field. … There was a pre-game 10-bell salute to Muhammad Ali.

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