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Soto, Longoria capture Sporting News honors
Daily Herald News Services
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Published: 10/21/2008 2:51 PM | Updated: 10/21/2008 2:52 PM

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Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria and Chicago Cubs catcher Geovany Soto are Rookies of the Year, as selected by The Sporting News and its panel of 314 major league players.

Soto batted .285 with 23 home runs and 86 RBIs and handled a pitching staff that included four 11-plus game winners and 97 total victories. The Cubs had the National League's third-lowest team ERA.

"In Chicago, there haven't been many catchers who have done what he did, catching 140-some games, because of all the day games and the toll it takes on your body," Cubs pitcherRyan Dempster told The Sporting News. "As far as handling pitchers, he's been lucky and good in that he has veteran guys who know what they want to do. But he's not afraid to come to the mound and challenge us."

Longoria missed more than a month with a fractured wrist, but still managed to hit .272 with 27 home runs and 85 RBIs for the American League champion Rays.

"Here's a kid who does not take anything for granted. He understands how blessed he is to be in the big leagues," Rays first baseman Carlos Pena said. "But at the same time, he knows at a very early age that it's the same game he was playing in college and high school. To be able to have that type of mentality at this level is great. In all these situations, he's still just playing his game. That's not easy."