Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria returned to the team Saturday morning, wearing a smile that can only belong to someone who just became a father.
“She’s beautiful. It was pretty miraculous. It’s unlike anything I ever experienced,” Longoria said of his daughter, Elle Leona, who was born Wednesday night.
The baby came six weeks premature because Longoria’s girlfriend, Jaime Edmondson, developed chronic high blood pressure during the pregnancy. Ella Leona weighed 4.1 pounds and was 18 inches long at birth.
“There were really no complications,” Longoria said. “Jaime was fine. She was incredible throughout the delivery. The baby was good. Just because she was so early, she was six weeks premature, she’s going to have to meet certain criteria before she comes home.”
Edmondson charged Longoria with naming the baby and he went with Elle, after his mother, whose name is Mary Ellen but goes by Elle.
“I always told myself I wanted to name my daughter some variation of that,” Longoria said. “Thankfully Jaime liked it. She told me she would be happy if I picked the name myself, and that was probably more pressure than I ever felt in anything that I ever done. I got nervous when she told me that, and I said, ‘I’m not really comfortable doing it on my own.’ ”
Leona is the name of Edmondson’s grandmother.
Longoria left the team Tuesday night and headed to Boca Raton, where the Edmondson was having her labor induced six weeks ahead of the April 1 due date. Edmondson and the baby will remain in Boca Raton, and Longoria said he will visit during the off days in the Rays Grapefruit League schedule.
In more mundane news, Longoria said he is scheduled to play his first game of the spring Monday when the Rays play host to the Red Sox at Charlotte Sports Park.