After being traded from the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Boston Red Sox last season, first baseman James Loney got an appetizer of the AL East. This year, he gets the full entrée.
“It was a fun town, you know, with a good fan-base.”
But last season was anything but fun for the Red Sox. It was the worst season in Red Sox history since 1965. Loney joined the team August 26th, during perhaps its worst losing streak of the season. After Loney joined the team Boston lost eight straight games, and thirteen of the next fifteen.
Today Loney told WEBN Boston in Florida that “It was tough, obviously you always want to win. It just doesn’t always work out that way.”
Now Loney is preparing for the season with the Tampa Bay Rays, another AL East team that suffered disappointment last year. He’s seen a month’s worth of AL East action, ending last September with 24 consecutive games against AL East teams. After that stretch of games, Loney is anticipating tough competition.
“I’m expecting a lot battles. I think all the teams are strong. It could very well be a race for all five spots. It should be a fun year.”
Loney will be the starting first baseman for the Rays. Despite being a career .282 batter, Loney’s defensive skills have been his calling card, and he hasn’t hesitated to give that knowledge to prospects with the Rays during spring training.
Cole Figueroa is a non-roster invitee at shortstop with Tampa Bay. He says Loney’s mechanics have been among the best advice he’s been given.
“Make sure you catch the balls and make the throws, and always be moving your feet. The game speed is a little different, but it’s the crowd and the energy that makes it challenging. “
Now Loney sees only one outcome for the Rays, “I expect to win.”
And the Rays did just that today, beating the Pirates 4-2.