Yunel will become the eighth Cuban-born player in Rays history and the first since C Michel Hernandez (2008-09)...the others: RH Rolando Arrojo (1998-99), RH Danys Baez (2004-05), DH Jose Canseco (1999-2000), SS Rey Ordonez (2003), RH Ariel Prieto (2001) and OF Alex Sanchez (2005)...The Rays are likely to become the third different team to feature a double play combination of Kelly Johnson at second base and Yunel at shortstop...the combo started 191 games together for the Braves from mid-2007 through 2009...the Blue Jays used the middle infield tandem to start 131 games from mid-2011 to 2012...according to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last duo to start together at second base and shortstop for three different teams was 2B Jeff Kent and SS Jose Vizcaino who did it for four teams: the Mets, Indians, Giants and Astros.
Made his seventh consecutive Opening Day start at shortstop (2008-10 with ATL, 2011-12 with TOR, 2013-14 with TBR)...Appeared in 137 games, his fewest since 2011, due to right shoulder soreness that sent him to the 15-day DL (June 30-July 11) and a left-knee sprain in mid-Sept. that would end his season prematurely...Hit .258 with 18 doubles, seven homers, 39 RBI, 43 walks and 33 runs scored... Batted .290 (65-for-224) on the road, 60 points better than at home (.230)...Hit .383/.431/.638 (18-for-47) over his last 14 games, (Sept. 5-23), with six extra-base hit (3 2B, 3 HR) and eight RBI…Suffered a left knee contusion sliding into home plate on Sept 23 at BOS, and was sidelined the remaining five games...Collected his 1,000th major league hit on May 22 vs. OAK, an RBI single...Went a career-high 64 consecutive plate apps without a strikeout, June 9-July 13... On Sept. 6 vs. BAL scored the winning run on a walk-off passed ball by Nick Hundley, the first walk-off win in TBR history on a passed ball...Had his first career multi-HR game, Sept. 11 at NYY, with a season-high four RBI, his most since Aug. 29, 2012 at NYY (with TOR)…Became only the second Rays shortstop to record a multi-HR game, joining Julio Lugo (three times, last July 22, 2006 vs. BAL)…That home run snapped a 57-game homerless drought, second longest of his career…Became the second visiting shortstop to have a multi-HR game at new Yankee Stadium, joining NYM Jose Reyes (June 19, 2010) and the seventh visiting SS to do it against the Yankees: Nomar Garciaparra (BOS, 1999 & 2002), Alex Gonzalez (TOR, 2001), Mike Bordick (BAL, 2001), Vern Stephens (STL-AL, 1943) and Billy Rogell (DET, 1935).
Played in a career-high 153 games and led all major league shortstops with a club-record and career-best .989 fielding pct. (7 errors in 610 chances)…made only 3 errors in his last 108 games…made a career-high 149 starts, 2nd most by a shortstop in club history behind Julio Lugo's 155 in 2005... Named a finalist for the AL Gold Glove won by BAL J.J. Hardy... The day after he set the club record for most consecutive errorless games by a shortstop (53), he was charged with an error on a throw to the plate on July 23 at BOS... Over the past three seasons, his .982 fielding pct. is 3rd among major league shortstops (min. 400 starts)…trails only BAL J.J. Hardy (.988) and PHI Jimmy Rollins (.983)... According to Stats LLC, his .853 zone rating over the past two seasons leads all major league shortstops (min. 200 starts)…zone rating measures the percentage of outs made on groundballs hit into his defensive "zone."... He and Ben Zobrist combined to make only 11 errors, matching the 2nd fewest ever by an AL double play combination (both players qualifying for fielding crown)…Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano made only 9 for the Yankees in 2010…Cal and Billy Ripken had 11 for the 1990 Orioles and Mark Loretta and Alex Gonzalez had 11 for the 2006 Red Sox... Escobar and Zobrist started 117 games as double play partners…only four other combos, one AL, started more games together in 2013: CHC Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro (138), CIN Brandon Phillips and Zack Cozart (136), ATL Dan Uggla and Andrelton Simmons (130) and BOS Dustin Pedroia and Stephen Drew (120)... Was the Rays leading hitter in the postseason with a club record .421 mark…for more information see "Postseason."... His 27 doubles were a career high and his 56 RBI were his most since 2009... His .256 batting avg. matched the 2nd lowest of his seven-year career…batted .089 (4-for-45) in his first 13 games and .139 (5-for-36) in his final 13…in between, batted .283 (121-for-427)... Batted 70 points higher with runners on base (.295) than with no one on (.225)... Homered only once in his last 199 at-bats (Sep 3 at LAA off J.C. Gutierrez in a 7-1 win)…didn't hit a home run at home after July 30 His .362 OBP after the All-Star break was 5th highest among major league shortstops (min. 100 AB)... Batted .283 (75-for-265) in his 81 starts in the 9th spot in the order…in the majors only BOS/DET Jose Iglesias (.316, 75-for-237) and TEX Leonys Martin (.292, 78-for-267) hit higher out of the 9-hole…his .359 OBP was 2nd best behind Iglesias (.361)... Started a 4th-inning double play on July 24 at BOS with a behind-the-back glove flip that landed at No. 1 on SportsCenter's Top Plays and remained "Best of the Best" on Baseball Tonight for over a week... Eight times he and Kelly Johnson started as double play partners, making the Rays the third different team to feature a double play combination of Johnson at 2B and Escobar at SS (also Braves, 2007-09; Blue Jays, 2011-12)…according to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last duo to start together at 2B and SS for three different teams was 2B Jeff Kent and SS Jose Vizcaino (Mets, Indians, Giants, Astros)... POSTSEASON: In his first postseason appearance,
he batted .421 (8-for-19), 2nd highest in the 2013 postseason among all players (min. 10 AB) behind ATL Chris Johnson (.438) and the highest ever by a Ray in postseason... Hit .467 (7-for-15) in the ALDS vs. BOS, 2nd best in the ALDS in club history behind Carlos Peña (.500 in 2008 vs. CWS)... Became the first Ray to have three straight multi-hit games in the postseason…included was a 3-hit effort in the Rays 3-1 loss in Game 4 of the ALDS, in which he had half of the Rays 6 hits.