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Longo mashes way to AL Player of the Week

Widened batting stance has third baseman thinking about All-Star Game
MLB.com

PHOENIX -- Evan Longoria's tweaked batting stance helped him earn another weekly honor, and it could propel him into next month's All-Star Game in San Diego.

On Monday, the Rays' third baseman was named the American League Player of the Week for the seventh time in his career after hitting .464 (13-for-28), with a .516 on-base percentage and a 1.107 slugging percentage. He hit safely in all seven games, racking up eight extra-base hits and nine RBIs and scored seven runs during that span.

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PHOENIX -- Evan Longoria's tweaked batting stance helped him earn another weekly honor, and it could propel him into next month's All-Star Game in San Diego.

On Monday, the Rays' third baseman was named the American League Player of the Week for the seventh time in his career after hitting .464 (13-for-28), with a .516 on-base percentage and a 1.107 slugging percentage. He hit safely in all seven games, racking up eight extra-base hits and nine RBIs and scored seven runs during that span.

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"Sometimes I think I'm doing something and I'm really not. The stance itself varies so much from year-to-year and even from month-to-month," Longoria said. "Right now, I'm wider and my feet are wider. I don't have as much of a glide or a step into my swing as I have had in the past. Just with where I am at right now and eliminating that movement, it has allowed me to slow things down and see the ball a little bit longer, just really put me in a good spot to see pitches and react."

Cast your Esurance All-Star ballot for Longoria and other #ASGWorthy players

Longoria started off his week by notching six hits in three games against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium, including three doubles. When the Rays headed to Target Field to take on the Twins in a four-game-set, the third baseman mashed five home runs, homering at least once in each game, and drove in eight runs.

"He's a really good player, and we all know that. He's had just a tremendous week," manager Kevin Cash said. "I'm really happy for him, and hopefully he continues to have that type of impact. I know you can't stay hot like that the entire season, but when you have those moments, and then other guys can follow suit is kind of what we are looking forward to get this thing going a little bit."

Video: Longoria hits four homers in four games vs. Twins

Longoria, who entered Monday's game against the D-backs riding a nine-game streak, said his approach has been a simple one.

"Every time I am up there, I'm really just looking to hunt one pitch," the veteran said. "This last week it has worked out."

Longoria, who was named to three consecutive All-Star teams starting in 2008, has not represented the American League in the Midsummer Classic since 2010. That could change this season, and he's allowed himself to start thinking about the possibility of representing the AL again. Alex Colome, who is 15-for-15 in save opportunities, is another candidate to represent the Rays in San Diego.

"I love the opportunity to be able to represent the American League," Longoria said. "The All-Star Game is like nothing else, it's like no other experience in this game. Just being able to be part of a team where the best players in the world are all in one locker room and for it to have meaning, the result of the game to have an impact on the rest of the season and potentially your team at the end is what makes it so special."

Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.

 

Tampa Bay Rays, Evan Longoria