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Loney finding comfort zone with Rays

Loney finding comfort zone with Rays

KANSAS CITY -- James Loney's bat has been alive. The Rays first baseman went 2-for-5 Wednesday night to give him a .375 average heading into Thursday's game against the Royals.

Loney had a disappointing season in 2012 with the Red Sox and Dodgers before the Rays signed him as a free agent in December. He said he does not feel any further satisfaction about the way his season has started, even though he wasn't in great demand by other teams.

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"I don't think about it too much as far as validation," Loney said. "It's just something internal that I have. I've done this for awhile, which people don't realize sometimes. But it's fun. When you look at what I've done, especially last year. In the big leagues, I've always hit over .280."

The laid back Loney noted that "sometimes you have to go through" some hard times in a career in order to get to a good place.

"I think that it's happened for a reason, you know," Loney said. "I think it's great for me to be in this situation. This team. This organization. I feel like the change was good for me. I definitely feel blessed to be in this situation.

"I just think the whole environment is better here. You've got the right type of leaders here. You've got the right type of guys. And you know, it's just a good atmosphere that we have."

In Loney's first 13 games of the season, he hit .167 with no home runs and four RBIs. In the next 13 games, he hit .524 with a home run and seven RBIs. Going into Thursday's game, he had 11 hits in the five previous games. He was 1-for-2 on Thursday, but it was postponed before it was an official game, and thus, those stats will not count.

Part of his resurrection could be attributed to his looking at video of his swing when he was hitting well.

"I just tried to copy that, basically, visually," Loney said. "I just try to copy a visual thing and take that into the game."

After playing in large markets such as Los Angeles and Boston, Loney now plays in St. Petersburg, which seems to fit his mellow persona. Loney said he does not care where he plays.

"It doesn't really matter as far as that goes," Loney said. "I like it when everybody is on the same page. When everybody wants to win. And you can see it with these guys here. Everybody goes about their business. Everybody plays hard."

Loney was asked if his being laid back has ever led to questions about his passion for the game.

"I think they only question it if you're not doing well," Loney said. "If you're doing well they don't care if you never talk or if you talk. You only get questioned if you talk too much and you don't do well, then you're too loud. This or that. It's all about your performance."

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

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