Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Sports

Longoria to set Rays record for games, hopes for many more

ST. PETERSBURG — 3B Evan Longoria has done so much for the Rays in his nine seasons.

And today, just by stepping on the field, he officially will have done more than anyone with the Rays, surpassing Carl Crawford by playing in his franchise record-breaking 1,236th game.

With six guaranteed years and a 2023 option still to go on his most recent contract, Longoria is looking to nearly double that.

"It's one of those things that when I signed my long-term deal, both of them really, my goal was always to be not necessarily the face of the franchise but kind of a cornerstone piece for a long time," Longoria said Tuesday. "When you do that, obviously in today's baseball world, that doesn't always mean that you are going to be there forever.

"But I'm happy that it has meant that for me up to this point, and that I've been able to have success and hopefully fill those shoes and fill the expectations to this point of what we set out to accomplish when we signed the deal. It's been my home. The fans and the organization have been great to me. So it's an honor to eventually take over that role."

Even better, Longoria, 30, said, would be to get to spend his entire career with the Rays, as players such as Derek Jeter (Yankees), Kirby Puckett (Twins) and Cal Ripken (Orioles) did.

"I would love to," he said. "This is kind of one of those stepping stones toward being a lifelong member of the franchise. Again, that call is not in my hands at this point. I want to show up and be a member of this team. So, yeah, simply put, I'd love to be here my whole career."

Longoria already leads the Rays in most offensive categories, including homers and RBIs.

DUFFY OUT: SS Matt Duffy was removed from the game due to "mild soreness" in his previously strained left Achilles.

"I don't think it's much of a concern, it's just general soreness," Duffy said. "I had it a little bit coming into the day."

Duffy left after beating out an infield hit then scoring from first. His status for today's game will be decided this morning.

He was on the DL when acquired Aug. 1 from the Giants and was activated Friday.

BACKED DOWN: 2B Logan Forsythe was scratched from the lineup about two hours before first pitch after his back locked up while he was in the trainer's room, and he was replaced by Nick Franklin. Forsythe's availability for today is also uncertain.

REHAB REPORT, PART I: RHP Chase Whitley (Tommy John surgery) threw six shutout innings, allowing four hits and no walks while striking out six on 92 pitches (67 strikes) for the advanced Class A Stone Crabs against Jupiter in his final rehab start. He is expected at the Trop today to discuss the next step, which could include being optioned to Triple-A Durham to continue logging innings before a September callup. … RHP Alex Cobb (Tommy John surgery) pitched four innings for Durham, allowing three runs (one earned), walking three and throwing 46 of 76 pitches for strikes at Columbus (Ohio) in the fourth start of this rehab assignment, sixth overall. Cobb is expected to make at least one more rehab start.

REHAB REPORT, PART II: LHP Enny Romero (back strain) will make a rehab start with Charlotte on Thursday, and possibly others. In addition to getting his back right, Romero worked on a change in delivery, specifically with his front hand, allowing him to hide the ball better and get on top of it. … OF Oswaldo Arcia (right elbow strain) continued his rehab with Charlotte, going 0-for-4. … OF Desmond Jennings (left knee bruise) played catch and took dry swings in the batting cage but has yet to test the knee by running. Manager Kevin Cash said, "I'm not sure when (but) I'm confident he'll be back."

MISCELLANY: Fox Sports Sun is not televising today's game. … Cash on Monday surpassed Joe Maddon's 127 wins in his first two seasons and was six from passing Lou Piniella, who won 133, most of the first four managers. … LHP Drew Smyly is the only pitcher in the majors this year with two games of seven-plus innings with only one hit.

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