Longoria AL's Player of the Week
Rays rookie third baseman calls award 'huge honor'
Things just keep getting better for the Tampa Bay Rays.The club is leading the American League East, it has won 12 of its last 15 games and now rookie third baseman Evan Longoria has been named the Bank of America AL Player of the Week for the week ending June 29. The Rays won five of six contests last week, outscoring their Interleague foes, 44-20. They did so in large part due to Longoria's contributions at the plate. For the week, Longoria hit .433 (13-for-30) with five doubles, three home runs and 10 RBIs, posting a .438 on-base percentage and .900 slugging percentage. "I really started to hit my stride," Longoria said. "It's tough to keep a stride going in this league. [Pitchers] make so many adjustments that you know it's a constant thing, but [I'm] just trying to stay on top of it as much as I can.
"It's a huge honor. It's something that I think I wouldn't be able to do if the team wasn't having so much success."
In Tampa Bay's Interleague series at Florida, Longoria was 7-for-16 at the dish with two home runs and six RBIs, but his best game of the week came in the Rays' series at Pittsburgh. On Friday, he went 4-for-5 with a home run, three RBIs and three runs scored."That whole time down in Florida, obviously, he was really good," manager Joe Maddon said. "And he's another guy, he is very good, but he is still getting better. He's still understanding of the Major League game and understanding what they are trying to do to him, and as he gains more confidence in that regard, I know he's going to get better."
For the season, Longoria is hitting .270 with 15 home runs and 47 RBIs. This marks Longoria's first Player of the Week Award. He is the second Rays player to receive the award this season. Pitcher James Shields won the award for the week of April 28.In recognition of his achievement, Longoria will receive an engraved luxury Swiss Tourneau watch. The AL East-leading Rays (49-32) met the second-place Red Sox (50-34) on Monday in the opener of a three-game series at Tropicana Field.
Shawn Shroyer is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Brittany Ghiroli contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.