Longoria unlikely to require DL stint
MRI results leave club optimistic slugger will return soon
ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays fans can breathe a collective sigh of relief, as an MRI on Wednesday revealed Evan Longoria's sore left hamstring likely won't land him on the disabled list.
"The report was good," said Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman. "It's the proverbial 'day-to-day,' but we're very optimistic that we're going to avoid a DL situation."
The optimism was felt from the clubhouse, too.
Longoria was out of the starting lineup on Wednesday for the second game of a three-game series against the Royals -- with Willy Aybar starting at third and Gabe Gross serving as the designated hitter instead -- but the reigning American League Rookie of the Year said he felt fine after doing some light jogging and throwing on the field, despite waking up "a little sore."
Manager Joe Maddon said Longoria's sore shoulder is also better -- thanks in large part to back-to-back games as a DH -- and he will likely play third base once his team lands in New York and begins a series against the Yankees on Friday.
The Rays' skipper added that he wasn't sure whether Longoria was available to pinch-hit Wednesday but that he may lean towards keeping him out of playing on the hard turf at Tropicana Field for what's left of the series against Kansas City.
"We just may save him until New York, give him two full days and move him onto the regular turf, see how that works -- but he's fine," Maddon said. "He's absolutely fine. He was adamant about that, and we're just being very cautious right now.
"As soon as we got in, he had already been doing some moving around and jogging stuff and felt a lot better than [Tuesday], so that was very encouraging."
While the back-to-back games at DH might have allowed Longoria's shoulder to feel fresh, he said it also might've led to the injury -- which he suffered while running out a grounder in the sixth inning Tuesday.
Entering Sunday's game, Longoria had only served as a DH twice in his 172-game career, and the change in pregame activities might have led to the freak injury, he said.
"I think with a couple of DH days, I got out of my routine that I've been doing the last few years, which messed me up a little bit," said Longoria, who skipped out on his 15-minute warmup with strength and conditioning coordinator Kevin Barr. "So whenever I can do all of the things that I do to get ready for a game, that'll probably be when I'm ready to go. Hopefully, that's either tomorrow or the next day.
Longoria, who had been in the trainer's room all morning receiving treatment, did not take batting practice on the field and instead used an eye-tracking machine.
The leading vote-getter among AL players for the All-Star Game, Longoria is batting .322 with 13 home runs and an AL-leading 55 RBIs in 52 games.
And thanks to some encouraging pregame news Wednesday, the 23-year-old's bat should be back relatively soon.
Bill Chastain and Alden Gonzalez are reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.