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04/15/09 3:00 PM ET

Longoria out following death in family

Rays' third baseman set to return Friday vs. White Sox

ST. PETERSBURG -- Third baseman Evan Longoria will be away from the Rays for two days due to a death in his family.

"There has been a death in the family -- I'll give you guys that much," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.

Longoria is off to a great start this season, hitting .441 with five home runs and 12 RBIs through the Rays' first eight games. He has known about the death for "a couple of days now," according to Maddon.

"He's just been trying to figure out the right day to go home to take care of it -- just the services," Maddon said. "So we've known about it. He told me several days ago."

Longoria should be back in the lineup on Friday night against the White Sox. Willy Aybar will play third base in Longoria's absence.

"I've had Willy on standby," Maddon said. "He's known about it, so everyone's ready."

Maddon said he's been looking to get Aybar some work anyway.

"The one game when Pat [Burrell] came back after getting his [World Series] ring, we gave Willy that next day, and then if you've noticed, I've tried to get him in the lineup pinch-hitting or a couple of at-bats whenever possible, knowing that this may occur," Maddon said. "He's had some at-bats recently.

"Willy just stays ready. I've talked about him. Believe me, this guy's a baseball player. He always stays ready. He does his work, never complains. He's really a great guy to have on your bench. I anticipate him to play well. I do."

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