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06/25/09 6:17 PM ET

Longoria out of lineup, but hamstring OK

Rays third baseman surprised to sit, but takes it in stride

ST. PETERSBURG -- Evan Longoria smiled recounting walking into the clubhouse and noticing that his name was not on the lineup card for Thursday night's Phillies-Rays game.

"I was a little bit surprised," Longoria said. "[I] got ambushed with it kind of. I guess they made up their minds [Wednesday] night that I wasn't going to play. [It was] something that they didn't tell me. And I feel good. I actually felt like I could play today.

"I guess [Rays manager Joe Maddon is] going to pick his spots where he's going to try and give me a day off here and there. With [Phillies left-hander Antonio Bastado] on the mound, I don't know why today. In any case, he's the manager and that's what we're going with today."

Longoria felt stiffness in his left hamstring in Wednesday night's game, and Tampa Bay exercised caution by removing him from the game after the seventh inning. Earlier in June, Longoria experienced tightness in his left hamstring, prompting the Rays to not start their All-Star third baseman for six games. He played in 14 consecutive games before leaving Wednesday night's game early.

Longoria doesn't feel his leg is a concern.

"[It] feels fine, feels really good [and] better than I expected," Longoria said. "[It's] just the same as it's felt the last three weeks since it happened [the first time]. It is what it is. He makes the decisions, so we'll go with that today."

Maddon smiled when asked about surprising Longoria.

"We ambushed him," Maddon said. "I just felt, talking to [head athletic trainer] Ronnie [Porterfield] at the end of [Wednesday's] game, just taking precautionary measures. I wanted to go this route. He's able to pinch-hit tonight. We'll play him at some point if we need him. I just thought it would be wise to do it this way."

Longoria, who went 2-for-3 with a double Wednesday night, was asked if he felt frustrated about not starting after having a good night at the plate.

"I don't really care about that," Longoria said. "Good night or bad night, I want to be in the lineup. I've been kind of hit and miss lately as it is. I mean, I really haven't gotten back into a hot streak like I was on at the beginning of the year. But, like I said, I just want to be in the lineup in any event."

Longoria said he did not restrict any of his pregame activites and he expects to be in the lineup Friday night against the Marlins. Maddon expects Longoria to be in the lineup as well.

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