PORT CHARLOTTE — 3B Evan Longoria had to play Sunday while his fiancee Jaime Edmondson hosted a birthday party at the Charlotte Sports Park for their recently turned 1-year-old daughter Elle.
So Longoria created his own celebration, launching a long two-run homer to left in the Rays' first win of the spring, 6-3 over the Twins.
"I was sad that I couldn't make it," Longoria said. "I told her I've got a day job, somebody's got to work."
Longoria downplayed the homer, saying only "it's nice to get the first one out of the way," but he did note how good he felt playing five innings and getting two at-bats.
Manager Joe Maddon liked what he saw, noting how comfortable Longoria already appears at the plate and how smooth his swing is: "That's what he's supposed to look like," Maddon said.
MYERS RENEWED: After agreeing to terms with their other 20 pre-arbitration eligible players, the Rays renewed the contract of AL rookie of the year OF Wil Myers by their Sunday deadline.
The Rays typically stick to a firm pay scale for pre-arb players (those with fewer than three years), which based on previous years would extend from the $500,000 MLB minimum to around $520,000. By being renewed, Myers would get $5,000 less than offered. RHP Jeremy Hellickson also was renewed after winning the 2011 award.
Jeff Berry, the co-head of CAA Baseball, which reps Myers, said the renewal was a non-issue, simply part of the process.
"No hard feelings whatsoever," he said via text. "Wil is looking forward to the upcoming season."
Agreeing to terms were Ps Chris Archer, Jeff Beliveau, Brad Boxberger, Alex Cobb, Alex Colome, Brandon Gomes, Nathan Karns, Josh Lueke, Mike Montgomery, Jake Odorizzi, C.J. Riefenhauser, Enny Romero and Kirby Yates; INFs Tim Beckham, Vince Belnome, Logan Forsythe and Hak-Ju Lee; and OFs Brandon Guyer, Desmond Jennings and Kevin Kiermaier.
PITCHING IN: No. 2 starter Cobb had only a few complaints about his 36-pitch, 12/3-inning, three-strikeout spring debut, specifically that his fastball location could have been more consistent. "A couple pitches I got away with down the middle that normally wouldn't happen in the regular season," he said.
Maddon had no issues: "Cobb was fantastic, great movement on the pitches."
RHP Grant Balfour made his first appearance since re-signing with the Rays, throwing 12 pitches in a 1-2-3 inning, working at 89-91 mph. "That's a perfect outing for me, four pitches to three guys," he said. "I'll take that every time."
GAME DETAILS: Two-out singles by CF Desmond Jennings and LF David DeJesus, a throwing error and Longoria's homer put the Rays up 3-0 in the third. … SS Yunel Escobar had two hits for his second straight game, noticeably pulling the ball more than last year. … Non-roster INF Jerry Sands, who had two doubles previously, homered Sunday. "You watch him in BP, he's been hitting balls into the trees," Maddon said. … The Rays played a third straight error-free game. … Twins INF Brandon Waring hit the centerfield tiki bar with a homer off RHP Santiago Garrido.
MISCELLANY: 2B Ben Zobrist (back) was cleared to make his spring debut today and should play three innings. … RHP Roberto Hernandez, who pitched for the Rays last season, starts against them today for Philadelphia.