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06/30/09 7:39 PM ET

Longoria rests sore hamstring Tuesday

Rays third baseman gets night off as he nurses leg injury

TORONTO -- Before Tuesday's tilt with the Blue Jays, Rays third baseman Evan Longoria tried his hand at catching. He sat in the crouch as designated hitter Pat Burrell played the pitcher's role and first baseman Carlos Pena stood behind Longoria, acting as the mock umpire.

If Longoria's ailing hamstring was bothering him, he didn't show it. Still, Rays manager Joe Maddon plans to take it easy on the third baseman until he's 100 percent healthy. That was the reasoning behind Maddon's decision to hold Longoria out of the lineup on Tuesday.

"I have no solid plan in mind," Maddon said. "Just to really talk to him a lot, pay attention to the day, see who we're facing and see if it's a good time to do it or not, that kind of stuff."

Longoria missed six games in early June with tightness in his left hamstring. He was last given a one-day breather on Thursday after leaving Wednesday's game after the seventh inning due to soreness in the hamstring.

Tuesday's day off was not motivated by a flare-up of Longoria's hamstring woes -- Maddon just felt the timing was right.

"Just wanted to give him a day," Maddon said. "This guy today, [Blue Jays starter Scott] Richmond, has a real huge split, lefties versus righties. Looking to give [Longoria] a day off, it just seemed like the right time to do it."

Maddon noted that while Longoria is healthy enough to play, he won't be at his best until his hamstring makes a full recovery.

"His running is -- he's not able to do what he normally does, running," Maddon said. "Even over to first or on the bases, there are some limitations."

Maddon plans to be cautious with Longoria, a 2008 All-Star and last season's American League Rookie of the Year, as long as he needs to to ensure the health of his third baseman.

"Just until you start seeing a little bit more improvement with it. I mean, he's fine, he can play," Maddon said. "Under different circumstances, he'd be out there tonight. Just trying to nurse it through. ... It's not going to be 100 percent until he gets some legitimate rest on it, but until then just try to do the best we can to minimize the impact of it."

Longoria will get a chance to get some more rest during the All-Star break. For Longoria, another appearance at the Midsummer Classic is certainly possible -- he's hit .303 this year with 16 home runs and 63 RBIs -- but he will still get a break from the everyday grind of the season.

"Even in an All-Star Game situation, you can kind of limit his activity there too, wheareas here, playing nine innings and playing day after day it's a little more difficult," Maddon said.

The Rays are hoping that giving Longoria a day off here and there will ensure he doesn't aggravate the injury and force him to miss more time than he needs to.

"He's a tough kid," Maddon said. "He wants to play and we want him to play. If we do this the right way, we'll be able to get him out there a lot more often."

Erika Gilbert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.