Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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Longo: ‘I’m not the savior’
Posted Aug 7, 2012 by Roger Mooney
Updated Aug 7, 2012 at 05:40 PM
ST. PETERSBURG Evan Longoria is batting fourth and serving as the Rays DH tonight when the begin a three-game series with the Blue Jays.
It is the first time in 86 games that Longoria is in the lineup.
“I’m not the savior,” Longoria said. “Hopefully I can provide some kind of a spark and get the offense going.”
Longoria said he is not aware of any limitations on the amount of consecutive games he can play after missing 85 games because of a partially torn left hamstring.
He also said he’s not that far away from playing third base.
“Right around the corner,” he said.
When asked how long it would take to regain the form he had at the plate, he said, “Hopefully, tonight.”
Rays manager Joe Maddon echoed the “no savior” theory.
“I like spark. I’m good with a spark,” Maddon said. “When a guy like Longo comes back people are going to really read into and heap all these unnecessary or unreachable expectations. Just come out and play your game, be yourself, one day at time, all the sports psychology stuff, which is actually the right thing to do. If he does all that I’ll be very pleased. Part of it is being in the lineup. Everybody else around him may get pitched at differently, might see something better, and that’s a good thing. He’s able to handle that, he’s done it before. Believe me it’s great to have him back, but I want to do it in a way where I don’t have any unrealistic expectations myself.”