03/24/08 6:13 PM ET
Rays send Longoria, Brignac to Minors
Rays' prized prospects will begin season at Triple-A Durham
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
While Longoria said he was disappointed, and "hoping and praying it wouldn't happen," he acknowledged that the decision was out of his hands.
"It's a tough thing to swallow; just going to go back down and keep doing what I'm doing," he said. "There's a lot of reasons for it, but it's not really my say on that. It's what the front office has to say and they made the decision."
While some have speculated it is a matter of avoiding arbitration and putting off Longoria's eligibility for free agency, Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman said the business aspect had "very little" impact on the final decision.
With Longoria in the Minors for even a few weeks, his eligibility for free agency would be delayed until after the 2014 season; if he stays in the Minors for several months, he likely would not receive early eligibility for arbitration.
"It wasn't a unanimous decision; it's one of those things, I think, with the way he played this year and the way he carried himself, his timetable has been expedited, even in our minds," Friedman said.
"There's no question hes going to be a big part of what we do going forward," he added.
Longoria said he entered camp hoping to showcase the confidence he had in his abilities.
"That was the only thing I thought to myself: To get confident and get my feet under me," he said.
Longoria certainly made a strong case, batting .262 with three home runs and 10 RBIs.
"It's never really easy to accept it," Longoria said. "I came in and feel like I did what I needed to do ... but it's not really my spot to go back on it."
The 22-year-old said that although the Rays did not give him a specific timetable, he hopes his stay in Durham will be short-lived.
"It's going to be based on what I do, how my at-bats and how I handle myself down there," said Longoria. "And I'm pretty confident I can handle it down there."
"I'm not disappointed at all: I just think [Jason Bartlett] is here he's going to do a good job," Brignac said. "I just got to go down to Triple-A and keep working until I get where I need to be.
"They've seen me, they've seen how I play," he added. "Just going to keep playing hard, keeping working hard and see what happens."
Despite being sidelined early with a broken toe, Brignac rebounded well, batting .281 with a .314 on base percentage. He also had a home run in Monday's game, his final Spring Training appearance.
Brittany Ghiroli is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.