Longo sets Rays record with 4th 30-HR year
Veteran credits yoga, weightlifting and positive approach for resurgence
ST. PETERSBURG -- Evan Longoria hit his 30th home run of the season in the Rays' 4-3 win over the Red Sox in 11 innings Wednesday night.In doing so, the Rays' slugger moved past Carlos Pena to become the only player in team history to log four 30 home run
ST. PETERSBURG -- Evan Longoria hit his 30th home run of the season in the Rays' 4-3 win over the Red Sox in 11 innings Wednesday night.
In doing so, the Rays' slugger moved past Carlos Pena to become the only player in team history to log four 30 home run seasons. Longoria spoke about reaching 30 prior to Thursday afternoon's game, and clearly the milestone felt special.
Longoria told reporters that he wrote down "some numbers" at the beginning of the season, basically setting goals for the first time in his career.
"I had actually written down a bigger number than 30," Longoria said. "... Kind of gives you something to reach for. Thirty homers has always kind of been that magic number. Guys are hitting a lot more home runs this year. But I don't think there will be a huge group of players that hit 30.
"It's a cool number, and it's a number I'm very proud of at this point. Something that I can just build on and see what kind of special year I can end up having this year."
Longoria's numbers had taken a dive in recent years compared to the work he'd done earlier in his career. Among the things he's been doing this season is putting together "a good plan of attack day to day with pitchers."
"I think mentally, I kind of set those intentions at the beginning of the year," Longoria said. "Whatever happened in the past offensively wasn't going to happen this year. And if I started to struggle that I wasn't going to let those thoughts creep in and those negative thoughts impact me the next day. And it's really helped me this year."
Longoria also did yoga in the offseason and added more extensive weight training.
"I've done some weightlifting and really conciously tried to keep the weight on."
Longoria has been a little more flexible with the way he swings the bat, too.
"I think what I've really embraced this year is I haven't tried to replicate what I've done in the past with my swing," said Longoria noting that in the past he'd look at video of swings from the past and tried to emulate those swings. "[This season I've] tried to not worry about replicating those swings, and I've kind of come in every day and tried to start to swing, and whatever's felt good, I've gone from there. It's really helped not letting those negative swing thoughts that I had before affect my day-to-day stuff this year."
At 30 home runs, Longoria is three homers shy of tying his career high and 10 short of becoming the second player in team history to hit 40. Pena holds that distinction after hitting 46 in 2007.
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.