As if they needed the reminder of his three-homer performance in Wednesday's season finale, the Rays are so much better with 3B Evan Longoria in the lineup.
And with Longoria missing 88 games this season after a left hamstring injury, and more than 20 percent of the Rays' games (163 of 800) since he was called up in April 2008, they are making it a priority to find ways to keep him playing.
"To the extent we can keep him on the field for 150-plus games, there's nothing we can do this offseason that will be more meaningful," executive VP Andrew Friedman said Thursday.
He said he even joked with their athletic training staff, which he considers "probably the best in baseball," that "we're going to have a 150-game marker for Evan, and that their job performance would be dictated by such."
Longoria, who changed his offseason training last year to emphasize more flexibility than strength, said he would take just a short time off and continue with his rehab, with no surgery or medical procedures necessary, and seek a new program.
"You just hope the offseason can get myself healthy and in the right spot to play 140-plus games next year," he said.
Evan Longoria's health a key for Rays in offseason
Tampa Bay Times | Oct 5