Baseball notebook: Longoria the face of the Rays

Evan Longoria embraces being viewed as the face of the Tampa Bay Rays.

A star on the field, where he’s won numerous awards in less than two full seasons in the majors, the 24-year-old third baseman also is establishing himself as the franchise’s most marketable player.

Longoria’s latest national commercial, a New Era caps spot in which the two-time All-Star plays a Jason Bourne/Jack Bauer-type action hero, was filmed in Tampa and began airing on opening day.

“It’s been a tremendous opportunity, not only for myself but for the organization. … We haven’t had much of an opportunity to be on a national stage, so I think it’s a good way for us to kind of get out there,” Longoria said.

After compiling baseball’s worst record over the first 10 seasons of their existence, the Rays have transformed themselves into one of baseball’s best teams, built around young talented players like Longoria.

He was A.L. rookie of the year in 2008, when he helped Tampa Bay make a surprising run to the World Series. He collected some impressive hardware in 2009, too, when he earned his first Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards.

Two teams sign Cubans

The Toronto Blue Jays agreed to a $10 million, four-year contract with Cuban shortstop prospect Adeiny Hechavarria.

A right-handed hitter who turns 21 on April 15, Hechavarria started for Cuba at the 2007 World Junior Championships in Canada.

Cuban outfielder-first baseman Leslie Anderson and the Tampa Bay Rays reached agreement on a four-year contract worth a minimum of $1,725,000.

The 28-year-old Anderson played for Cuba in the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classic.

Clearing the bases

Spurred by a World Series title and some price cuts, the New York Yankees are ahead of last year’s sales pace at their $1.5 billion ballpark. Managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said the team had reached the equivalent of 37,000 full-season tickets. … New York police say a 39-year-old man jumped to his death in an apparent suicide from the top floor of a luxury Manhattan hotel where the Los Angeles Angels were staying. Angels manager Mike Scioscia says pitchers Jered Weaver and Matt Palmer were across the street at the time and witnessed the fall and were shaken up by it.

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