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Longoria recognized as Rays' top defensive player

ST. PETERSBURG -- Slick-fielding third baseman Evan Longoria was recognized as the Rays' Defensive Player of the Year on Thursday night through the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Awards.

Longoria bringing home the hardware was quite an accomplishment considering the competition in Tampa Bay's infield alone. He, shortstop Yunel Escobar, second baseman Ben Zobrist and first baseman James Loney all were Gold Glove nominees this season.

Longoria, who played in 160 games after returning from an injury-filled 2012 campaign that saw him play in just 74 contests, ranked second among American League third basemen with a .972 fielding percentage. Orioles third baseman Manny Machado led the AL, at .973.

Longoria had been the top-fielding AL third baseman prior to his first multi-error (two) game of the season, on Sept. 27 at Toronto. Still, his career-best .972 mark was the second highest in club history behind Akinori Iwamura's .975, set in 2007. Longoria had a career-high 42-game errorless streak from May 21 to July 21.

Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia was named the AL's top fielder, with Kansas City and Baltimore sharing the honors as the top-fielding AL team. Arizona was named the top-fielding National League team, with D-backs outfielder Gerardo Parra honored at the NL's top defensive player.

The Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award was established in 2012; winners are determined through a formula that balances scouting information, sabermetric analysis and basic fielding statistics.

The GIBBY trophy for Defensive Player of the Year will be awarded as part of the 2013 Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards, which are based on voting by media, front-office personnel, MLB alumni and the Society for American Baseball Research, as well as fan balloting on

Through Sunday, Dec. 1, fans will be able to cast their ballots at for the year's top defensive star, with no individual league affiliation.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for
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