Evan Longoria goes 1-for-4 in minor league rehab debut

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As noted by MLB.com’s Jake Kaplan, Tampa Bay third baseman Evan Longoria finished 1-for-4 with a strikeout in his first minor league rehab game on Saturday evening with the Triple-A Durham Bulls.

Longoria is getting the day off Sunday but will resume his rehab assignment on Monday night and should be back in the bigs within the next 7-10 days.

“I felt good out there,” Longoria told reporters after Saturday’s debut. “I was very satisfied with the way I felt. I felt like all my swings were as hard as I could, and I didn’t feel any pain or soreness or grabbing. The running was fine. All positive things. … Just trying to get at-bats, pile at-bats up, see some good pitching.”

The 26-year-old has been sidelined since tearing his left hamstring on the last day of April. He’ll return to the .329/.433/.561 batting line, four home runs and 19 RBI that he cultivated in 23 games before the injury.

The Rays are currently 36-29, three-and-a-half games back of the Yankees in the American League East.

Rays’ Erik Neander named Executive of the Year

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At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.

Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.

The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.

At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).