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News » Tampa Bay Rays Notes, Quotes 2008-11-13

Tampa Bay Rays Notes, Quotes 2008-11-13

Tampa Bay Rays Notes, Quotes 2008-11-13
--CF B.J. Upton had surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder on Nov. 11. He should be ready for spring training, general manager Andrew Friedman said.

--3B Evan Longoria was the unanimous choice for AL Rookie of the Year. Longoria had 27 homers and 85 RBI even though he wasn't with the Rays the entire season. He became the first Ray to receive the honor. Delmon Young finished second last season. Jonny Gomes (2005) and Rocco Baldelli (2004) both finished third in the voting.

--The honors kept coming for the Rays, as Joe Maddon was selected the American League's Manager of the Year in a landslide. He received every first-place vote except for one, which went to the Twins' Ron Gardenhire.

--1B Carlos Pena became the first Ray in the franchise's history to win a Gold Glove. Pena made only two errors in 1,097 chances this season. That he did not bring his hitting woes to the field with him during the first half of the season speaks volumes about Pena's commitment to his defense.

--LHP Trever Miller's option was not picked up, but that doesn't mean he and the Rays will part ways. Miller was a valuable member of the bullpen, both as a left-handed specialist and a leader. Miller, whose 4-year-old daughter Grace suffers from a rare heart disorder, likely would accept any offer from the Rays in order to stay close to home.

--The Rays' search for a closer could start and end with RHP Grant Balfour, who has the high-90s fastball and the bulldog attitude to handle the job. Balfour, who was perfect in that role during his stay at Class AAA Durham early in the season, would need to add another pitch, though, before he could make the transition to the back of the bullpen.

--That Ben Zobrist started Game 1 of the World Series in right field was something manager Joe Maddon said he never would have foreseen early in the season, yet the super utility man, who had four stints with the Rays last summer, made the most of his final trip to earn that kind of confidence. Zobrist is expected to further hone his skills as an infielder and outfielder by playing winter ball.

BY THE NUMBERS: 105 -- Wins by the Rays last season, including postseason play, the most by any team in the majors and 39 more than they won in 2007.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm hoping to be recognized in Europe, because that would truly indicate the Tampa Bay Rays have arrived on the continent." -- Manager Joe Maddon, on one of his goals for his European honeymoon that begins Nov. 10.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: November 13, 2008

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