May 17, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) in the dugout against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Rays Notes: Longoria, Injuries, Hawkins, Autographs, Star Wars

Evan Longoria is the headline every day for the Rays right now, but his quote from Andrew Friedman was positive for once.

In other injury news, Matt Joyce is expected to return within two weeks while Sam Fuld should be back sooner, says Marc Topkin.

Confirming what we expected, the Rays signed 12th rounder Taylor Hawkins to an above-slot contract with $272,500, meaning the Rays will be deducted $172,500 from their draft pool because the contract was above the $100,000 limit for picks past the 10th round. That does not affect the Rays pursuit of first round selection Richie Shaffer, who is still expected to sign before the 5 PM EST deadline for 2012 draft picks to agree to contracts.

Rays 33rd round pick Luke Goodgion got an article in the Maple Valley Reporter for his journey from quitting baseball because of injury to getting drafted by the Rays. Also a little bit about his arsenal of pitches. It’s a good read.

Rays employee Brian Auld has founded a company called Egraphs along with his brother, and the venture is being financed in part by Rays owner Stu Sternberg. Egraphs will allow fans to get personalized messages and digital autographs from MLB players in exchange for a fee that will be $50 at the beginning and will eventually vary based on player popularity. More than 250 major league baseball players will be available for fans to choose over the next two months, and Egraphs expects more MLB players and players from the other major sports to sign on as well. So if you want David Price to wish you Happy Birthday, you will be able to do so in only a matter of time. Businessweek has all the details.

Before we get for what we all know you’re waiting for, a couple of stats to throw out there.

Not in a tweet, but this from Marc Topkin at the link above: the Rays have won 6 games when trailing heading into the 9th inning, most in baseball, and not a single of those wins has gone into extra-innings. That type of resilience is what has kept the Rays alive despite all the injuries they have suffered.

And now, Star Wars. The Tampa Bay Rays will be having Star Wars Day at the Trop on July 22nd, giving away Darth Vader (Tampa Bay) Rays shirts on a first-come first-serve basis, and fans sitting in the press-level seating area are encouraged to wear Star Wars attire and there will be a costume contest. If Star Wars is your thing and you’re within driving distance of the Trop, make sure to head to this game. Full details on the Rays’ official website.

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Wednesday, Sep 2424 Sep7:10at Boston Red SoxBuy Tickets

Tags: Evan Longoria Matt Joyce Richie Shaffer Sam Fuld Taylor Hawkins

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