8/12/2014 1:09 A.M. ET
Healthy Longoria not focused on season-long funk
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Despite being healthy and playing in all of the Rays' 118 games, Evan Longoria has been in a season-long offensive funk -- relative to what he has done in the past.
His production has triggered numerous theories about his health or lack thereof, but Longoria told reporters on Monday he's perfectly healthy and has been all season.
"I wish I could say that [there has been something physically wrong]," Longoria said. "Unfortunately, it's just not going the way I planned. Again, I wish I could say that there was something or another that would make it an easy cop-out to say this is wrong, is this is the reason why. But the truth of the matter is I've been doing everything that I've done the past five or six years to make me successful, and maybe at times even more and probably put more pressure. So, it's been frustrating."
Longoria noted that he's most concerned about helping the Rays win because the team's playoff hopes remain alive.
"We're not playing for nothing yet," Longoria said. "It could be an interesting stretch if things turn around. You always want to end the season on a positive note. So whatever that means for this team is my hope for the [remaining games]."
A reporter asked Longoria if focusing on winning has helped him not be concerned about his personal numbers. Longoria smiled at the question: "I haven't been focusing on my numbers for a quite a while because I know they're pretty bad."
After the laughter subsided, Longoria allowed that at a certain point he's realized that, the more he focuses on them, "the numbers don't change too quickly."
"It just kind of becomes more of a hindrance than anything because you're looking for things to change in a hurry," Longoria said. "And they're not going to. This game, it's tough, and a lot of times it finds ways to humble you. It isn't always as easy as everybody makes it seem.
"You know, the guys that play at this level are the best players at their positions, respectively, in the world. So we all wish that it was easier at times. But the fact of the matter, it isn't. My focus has to be putting what is important to the group in front of what I consider to be a personal success at the end of the year numbers-wise."
Longoria remains loose and he doesn't appear to be beating himself up too much, though he noted that he has higher expectations for himself than anybody.
"There may be some fantasy owners who aren't too happy" or Rays fans, but he added that he "really can't do any more" than what he's been doing.
Rays remember happy times in Arlington last year
ARLINGTON -- The last time the Rays were in Arlington -- at what is now known as Globe Life Park -- they played Game 163 of the 2013 season. They defeated the Rangers that night.
David Price pitched a complete game and Evan Longoria homered in the win as the Rays advanced to the American League Wild Card Game at Cleveland.
"We celebrated in here, I know that," Longoria said. "... That whole week-and-a-half, two-week period was a whirlwind experience. But I do remember celebrating in here."
The Rays had bowed out against the Rangers in their two previous postseason meetings, which made the win even sweater.
"I remember jumping in David's arms and celebrating," Jeremy Hellickson said. "Just a good time. We've played these guys a lot in the playoffs and for us and David to finally do that last year was very special. I just remember the whole celebration. It was a lot of fun."
The visiting clubhouse now has new carpeting, chairs and even a foosball table in the middle of the clubhouse.
"I think they had to remodel," Longoria said.
Kiermaier exits with tightness in lower back
ARLINGTON -- Kevin Kiermaier was removed from Monday night's Rays-Rangers game with tightness in his lower back.
The Rays outfielder appeared to tweak his back while stealing second base in the fourth, but he stayed in the game through the sixth, the same inning he had a triple. The injury is not believed to be serious, but the Rays opted to make the move as a precautionary measure.
Kiermaier's status is day to day.
"He was kind of arguing to not leave the game, but I was watching him out there getting set pre-pitch and he was not comfortable," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "...He might be able to play tomorrow."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.