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Sunday, May 27, 2018
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Tampa Bay Rays

Loney, Longoria report to Rays’ camp

PORT CHARLOTTE — Half of the Tampa Bay Rays’ starting infield reported to camp this morning for spring training.

First baseman James Loney walked into the clubhouse about 15 minutes ahead of third baseman Evan Longoria.

Loney, a free agent after a breakout year in 2013, spoke with the media before his workout. Longoria will speak later this morning.

Loney signed a three-year, $21 million contract this offseason to return to the Rays. He did so because he like the offer and he liked playing in Tampa Bay.

“You just be yourself. You go out there and do what you can do,” he said. “It’s not a complicated formula, a complicated process. You keep it simple like that makes it easier.”

Loney, who played a big role in the Rays’ run to the American League wild card last season, also said there is some unfinished business in Tampa Bay.

“I want to win with these guys,” Loney said. “It will be fun winning with these guys. It’s that feeling you want to experience like everybody else, especially since I knew this place, I knew the people here. I knew they were committed to winning.”

Loney would like to help the Rays advance past the AL Division Series, where they were eliminated last season by Boston in four games.

He said he was encouraged by the work of the front office during the winter,

“I think everybody is on the same page,” he said. “Everyone wants to win, obviously. Find the right guys, the right pieces to do that. We’re in a great position.”

Loney batted .299, his highest full-season average in the big leagues. He led the major leagues with a .351 road average. His defense at first base made him a finalist for the Gold Glove.

Loney said he would like to improve on that production this season.

“I’m always aiming for better,” he said. “For me that’s my nature.


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