Longoria unlikely to face Yankees
Third baseman not rushing back from right wrist injury
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays are likely to be without Evan Longoria until the middle of next week, as manager Joe Maddon said the third baseman would "probably not" be available for the club's upcoming series with the Yankees, which starts Tuesday.
"It doesn't look really hopeful," Maddon said. "I wouldn't count on it. I'm not saying it won't happen, but I won't count on it."
Longoria has been on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured right wrist since Aug. 11, although the injury was suffered when he was struck by a pitch in an Aug. 7 game in Seattle. The game's adrenaline initially made the injury appear minor, and the Rays didn't uncover the fracture until a second set of X-rays were taken in St. Petersburg.
Prior to Saturday's game, the 22-year-old Longoria did some throwing and continued to swing with a broomstick. Although Maddon said Longoria's exact schedule had not been decided, the Rays skipper did say the rookie would need at least two or three days of live batting practice before getting back into games.
Maddon also said the major concern with Longoria's wrist will be swinging and missing, as it often puts more pressure on a batter's hand than when the bat connects with the ball.
Prior to his injury, Longoria was the Rays' leader in home runs (22) and RBIs (71). Entering Saturday's action, he is still baseball's top rookie in homers and extra-base hits (51).
Despite the admirable job utility man Willy Aybar has been doing at the hot corner, getting Longoria back in time to face the Yankees would be a huge boost for the Rays. The club started its current homestand on Tuesday, opening a stretch of 25 of 29 games against American League East opponents.
Adding Longoria's right-handed power bat could go a long way in helping Tampa Bay secure a playoff spot down the stretch, a fact that isn't lost on him.
"I've been antsy since Day 1," he said. "But what can I do?"
Fortunately, the Rays' record -- they have gone 12-5 in the absence of stars Longoria, Carl Crawford and Troy Percival -- affords the third baseman the luxury of making sure he is 100 percent healthy.
"If I reinjure this, it's going to be worse and I'll end up being out the whole season," Longoria said. "I'm close to coming back. It's just that we're playing well anyway right now, so there's no need for me to rush back."
Brittany Ghiroli is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.