Rays Notes: Evan Longoria, David Price Set to Make Spring Debuts, Rhyne Hughes Signs With Mets

By Robbie Knopf

There’s a 50% chance of precipitation in Port Charlotte today, but if the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and Houston Astros does happen, it’s going to be awfully exciting. Here’s the Rays’ lineup, with two names specifically sticking out.

Ben Zobrist, SS
Ryan Roberts, 2B
Evan Longoria, 3B
Leslie Anderson, LF
Shelley Duncan, 1B
Wil Myers, RF
Jack Cust, DH
Sam Fuld, CF
Jose Lobaton, C
David Price, SP

It’s interesting that Anderson is backing cleanup, although that makes sense given his hot start. A couple of other guys competing for a bench role on the Rays, Duncan and Cust are also getting in this one. And then there’s the matter that Ben Zobrist is playing shortstop today. Am I missing anything? Well, yes. Today marks the spring debuts for Evan Longoria and David Price, the Rays’ two superstars, the leaders of their team, and the players that the Rays desperately need to deliver big years in order to make it back to the playoffs. Even if this game happens, I wouldn’t be surprised if either of them, especially Longoria, taken out because there’s no point risking his surgically-repaired hamstring on wet conditions to come back one day earlier. But in any event, today looks to be an exciting day for the Rays and a key checkpoint in their spring with Longoria and Price finally getting into the act, and hopefully the weather won’t hold it back. The game will be available via MLB.com’s Gameday Audio if you want to tune in.

In other news, first baseman Rhyne Hughes, the former Rays prospect who we covered in depth in our Winter League Recaps, has signed a minor league contract with the New York Mets, as Hughes himself tweeted. Hughes played very well for the Gigantes del Cibao in the Dominican Winter League, managing a .261/.393/.459 line with 8 doubles, 4 homers, 15 RBI, and most impressively, a 38-24 strikeout to walk ratio in 37 games and 135 plate appearances. Congrats to Hughes on signing and best of luck to him trying to make it back to the major leagues.