Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays' Evan Longoria wins franchise's first player of the month award

Evan Longoria, the majors’ RBI leader, is the first Rays player to win the AL player of the month award.


Evan Longoria, the majors’ RBI leader, is the first Rays player to win the AL player of the month award.

ST. PETERSBURG — The announcement came just before the game that 3B Evan Longoria had been named American League player of the month for April, the first Ray in their 12 seasons to win the monthly award.

Then the second-year sensation went out and worked on his bid for the May award, knocking in three more runs to extend his major-league-leading total to 34.

And he did it without even hitting the ball hard, a two-run ground ball single in the seventh following a sixth-inning blooper that dropped into rightfield for a double that scored the tying run.

"You've got to take 'em any way you can," Longoria said, laughing. "I told (Baltimore's) Brian Roberts at second base that's just good, clean living."

It's something, because Longoria has been on a roll. The April honor — for hitting .369 with six homers and 24 RBIs in 21 games — wasn't much of a surprise as he'd won two of the first four player of the week awards.

Longoria, who gets a 52-inch Sharp Aquos high-def TV and a trophy, said it was "very special" to be so honored, and he is determined to not let it go to his head.

"I constantly try to humble myself; if you don't, I'm sure the game is going to find a way to humble you," said Longoria, at 23 the youngest player on the team. "I've got to come to the ballpark and do the same things and treat everybody the same and keep things as simple and as plain as possible."

RUNNING HARD: LF Carl Crawford was on the run again, stealing second in the first (and coming around to score on two errors) to extend his season-opening streak to 19, and 21 going back to last season.

Manager Joe Maddon compared him to "being in a zone" like a basketball guard or football quarterback. Crawford said it's a product of running at the right time, a combination of good jumps and a slightly larger lead he's taking this season.

"I'm just trying to make sure I'm going when I feel there's a high chance I'll be safe," he said. "I don't want to just take off. I'm trying to get good jumps and make sure everything is right before I take off."

Crawford's current career success rate of 83.38 percent (321/385) is tops among active players and third all time.

ADJUSTING WELL: Maddon and pitching coach Jim Hickey didn't like what RHP Matt Garza was doing in the early innings, "getting too cute" with his off-speed pitches.

After a third-inning conversation and adjustment, they loved what he did the rest of the way, throwing his four-seam fastball more often and more aggressively. "I like when he's physical," Maddon said.

Garza ended up allowing only four hits (two home runs) while working into the ninth.

"It was just locating it better and not trying to be too tricky out there," Garza said.

LOOKING DIFFERENT: Maddon is a traditionalist when it comes to ballparks and a sentimentalist when it comes to Yankee Stadium, where his father took him to see his first big-league game. So he's not all that excited about seeing the new Bronx palace: "It's wonderful I'm sure from a financial perspective, but from an aesthetic perspective I would much prefer the old place."

REHAB REPORT: RHP Jason Isringhausen (September elbow surgery) allowed two hits but no runs in a rehab inning for Triple-A Durham. … C Shawn Riggans (right shoulder tendinitis) was 1-for-2 and played three innings in his first rehab game for Double-A Montgomery.

MISCELLANY: Troy Percival got one out for his 356th save, and Maddon said he will try to use him in shorter situations like that. … Quality assurance coach Todd Greene will miss at least the New York games to attend to the birth of his fourth child. … OF Gabe Gross rejoined the team, and brought cigars, after the Sunday birth of his first child. … The new Yankee Stadium is the 32th stadium the Rays have visited; they are 8-23 in debut games. … RHP Jeremy Hellickson, one of the Rays' top pitching prospects, left Tuesday's start after two innings (30 pitches) with a muscle problem in his shoulder that is not believed to be serious.

Tampa Bay Rays' Evan Longoria wins franchise's first player of the month award 05/05/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 6, 2009 6:43am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bullpen melts down as Rays lose to Orioles (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Jacob Faria allowed his first two big-league home runs and was touched for a career-high three runs Saturday by the Orioles. Other than that, the rookie making his fourth major-league start did okay against the Baltimore bats.

    The bullpen, not so much.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Jumbo Diaz wipes his face as he walks off the mound after the Baltimore Orioles scored four runs during the eighth inning of a baseball game Saturday, June 24, 2017, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) SPD118
  2. Lightning shifts search for defense to free agency

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — As much as he tried, Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman left the weekend's draft without acquiring another top-four defenseman.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101
  3. Lightning journal: Russian forwards top Day 2 draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — After taking a big, right-shot defenseman in the first round, the Lightning's second day of the draft was headlined by a few skilled Russian forwards.

    Canadiens rookie defenceman Mikhail Sergachev with Brian and Michelle Reid, the billet family he lived with while playing for the OHL's Windsor Spitfires last season. COURTESY OF BRIAN AND MICHELLE REID
  4. The people you meet along O.J. Howard Lane


    OJ Howard (far right) is seen in a photo from his adolescent years at Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church in Prattville, Ala., on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. Howard served as an usher in addition to attending regular services at this church.