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Longoria still hurting, but 'it's all or nothing'

TBO.com Staff
Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 12:59 PM

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NEW YORK -

A 14-inning game Thursday in Baltimore, the last six innings of which he played at third base, was enough to have Evan Longoria in Friday night's lineup as the designated hitter.

It was a move Longoria agreed with but wasn't pleased with.

"If I could be out there every day playing defense I would," Longoria said.

But Longoria, who missed 85 games this season with a left hamstring injury (he's still playing with a ruptured gracilis tendon and a ruptured semitendinosus), said the time to baby the injury has passed.

"It's crunch time," he said. "So it's all or nothing."

When asked to put a percentage on the health of his hamstring, Longoria said, "It's good enough to play, so it's good enough for me."

Manager Joe Maddon said Longoria has been moving well when playing the field. He even thought Longoria ran well while trying to beat out a slow-roller to third base in the ninth inning of Wednesday's loss.

"I want to keep him playing, I want to keep his bat in the lineup," Maddon said.

Longoria entered Friday's game batting .258 since his return from the disabled list. He's hitting much better as the DH (.284, six home runs, 17 RBIs) as opposed to when he plays third base (.209, one home run, four RBIs).

He came up during the fifth inning Friday with the bases loaded and bounced into a 5-3 double play. The Rays got a run to extend their lead to 3-1, but Longoria didn't push himself too hard running to first. That was an easy call for him. The harder ones, he said, are when he's on second base when he might be able to score on a single or an error.

"I'm nervous about scoring," he said. "I don't want to further injure myself. But then I think of (the batter) and I would want me to score."

Maddon said the decision on where to play Longoria will remain day-by-day (or "Godspell," as Maddon likes to call it because of the Broadway play that made the song famous).

"We have a lot of 'Godspell' moments around here, and that's one of them," Maddon said.

Rodriguez's return

IF Sean Rodriguez (broken bone in right hand) is expected to be activated today. While he still can't hit, Rodriguez can make himself useful as a defensive replacement or a pinch-hitter when a bunt is in order.

When asked to describe these past two weeks, Rodriguez said, "miserable."

Some of the Rays' inability to score lately can be attributed to their inability to move runners with the bunt. Rodriguez knows he can help the Rays with that.

"I see (a situation) almost every game where I could have helped," he said.

That's McGee with a K

LHP Jake McGee entered Friday's game having struck out seven straight batters and 11 of the past 13 he's faced. Joaquin Benoit holds the club record for consecutive strikeouts with nine.

McGee also had retired the past 21 batters he faced, which was five shy of the club record set in 2011 by RHP Kyle Farnsworth.

Noteworthy

RHP Chris Archer gets credit for an at-bat Thursday when he replaced 2B Ryan Roberts, who left with an injury. Archer does not get credit for the strikeout since he entered with an 0-2 count. That means Archer has been a pinch-hitter and a pinch-runner this season. … Roberts (bruised left leg) is listed as day-to-day. … LHP Matt Moore joined Twitter. Follow him @notmattmoore55.

Roger Mooney

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