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Herndon Grad Guyer Now Part of Pennant Race

Rookie outfielder contributes to Rays' playoff push as they chase the Red Sox.

In his first Major League at bat, Herndon High graduate Brandon Guyer hit a home run against the Orioles in Baltimore in May.

In his second trip to The Show this year he was in New York to face the vaunted Yankees in July.

And now, in the third trip to the big leagues this season with Tampa Bay, the rookie outfielder and former University of Virginia standout is in the midst of a pennant race as the Rays try to chase down the Boston Red Sox for the wildcard spot in the American League.

"First of all, it is a dream come true to be in the big leagues," Guyer said Tuesday afternoon, standing on the top step of the Tampa Bay dugout before the game in Baltimore against the Orioles. "To be in this situation, to help a team in a close race, you can not ask for anything more."

Guyer, 25, said about 15 family and friends were at Camden Yards on Monday to watch the Rays beat the Orioles as Guyer had one hit in three bats with one run scored as Tampa Bay won.

Among those on hand were his father, Ray, his wife Lindsay Murphy, her parents and his agent. His father played tennis in college at Rider in New Jersey.

Many rookies get called up to the majors in early September when the roster expands from 25 to as many as 40 players. But many of those rookies are not part of a team trying to make the playoffs.

"I try not to think of that," said Guyer, who graduated from Herndon in 2004. "It is just baseball. Nothing is different. I feel very comfortable here. I just look at it like it is just another game."

Guyer said one of the biggest adjustments is off the field, as he gets used to the lifestyle in the Major Leagues after several years in the minors.

After the 2010 season he played winter ball in Venezuela. This year he is not sure what he will do. "This year I may just relax and work out. I am not sure," he said.

He was called back up to Tampa Bay from Durham on Sept. 1 and he started seven of the first 11 games with the Rays this month. Guyer was traded by the Cubs to the Rays on January 11.

In his first 29 at bats he hit .207 with two homers, one double and three RBIs at the big league level.

"He definitely has a lot of power," Tampa Bay pitcher Jeremy Hellickson said of Guyer. "He has a power-speed combo. He is going to be a very good outfielder for years to come."

On May 6 he hit at Camden Yards against Oriole pitcher Zach Britton. He was the first player ever at Camden Yards to hit a homer in his first big league at bat.

Guyer, who spent most of this season with Class AAA Durham of the International League, hit safely in five straight games with Tampa Bay through Monday. He was five of 18 with a home run and double during that span. Three of his first six career hits in the Major League were against the Orioles.

He hit .312 with 14 homers with 61 RBIs in 388 at bats this year for Durham.

Guyer and his wife have lived in Rockville, near Darnestown Road, for about two years. Murphy is a sports television anchor for FOX Sports Channel 5 in Washington, D.C.

The couple first met when Murphy went to Charlottesville to interview Guyer when he was playing for the University of Virginia. As a senior at Herndon he scored seven touchdowns in the homecoming football game for the Hornets.

His hitting coach this year in Durham was Dave Myers.

"He has been a good player for us," Myers told Patch earlier this year. "I think the Rays did a pretty good job in the trade, getting a player of his caliber. He fits in in the Rays' style of play and that he is athletic and he can play more than one position. He runs well, throws well. He has a good feel for the game and plays hard, all of the things we look for in our organization."

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