As season nears, Rays set to ramp up at-bats

As season nears, Rays set to ramp up at-bats

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Getting the proper number of at-bats during Spring Training is a must for teams preparing their hitters for the regular season.

Evan Longoria said there is a target range for the number of Spring Training at-bats a hitter needs in order to feel comfortable.

"You're trying to get to a point where you have enough at-bats to get comfortable, but you're not overtired and overworked at the end of Spring Training," Longoria said. "You're going to be tired to some extent, but you don't want to leave spring like having played six games in a row and starting to feel like you do after playing six in a row at the beginning of the regular season. I think [the perfect range is] somewhere between 40 and 50 [at-bats]."

John Jaso added: "No range. Just however many at-bats it takes to get my timing down."

Longoria and Jaso know what it takes, given their years of experience getting ready for the season. For others, like Kevin Kiermaier, the range is an unknown since he's been trying to make the team rather than already having a spot.

The Rays outfielder said he's currently playing two days out of three and normally getting three at-bats per game, but he expects the pace to accelerate the closer to the regular season he gets.

"Start playing later into the games," Kiermaier said of how he would get those precious at-bats. "The main thing is to keep fresh. I feel really good right now and that's how you want to begin the season."

Manager Kevin Cash noted that the Rays are in pretty good shape right now for hitting the target range of at-bats.

"We've actually done a pretty good job," the Rays' manager said. "There's a couple of guys who are pretty short and we'll get that going, but you'll start to see some of the regulars get ramped up in a little bit."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.