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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Longoria will emphasize “quality over quantity” in preparations
Posted May 2, 2011 by Tribune Sports
Updated May 2, 2011 at 03:06 PM
By TONY FABRIZIO
ST. PETERSBURG - Evan Longoria says he’ll try to keep himself from overdoing it in pre-game infield and batting practice when he rejoins the Rays after missing a month with a strained left oblique.
The three-time All-Star third baseman will come off the DL for Tuesday night’s home game against the Blue Jays if nothing goes wrong in his final minor league rehab game tonight for Double-A Montgomery and Jacksonville.
“I’ve always been a guy that likes to take a thousand swings and a thousand ground balls, and so that was one of the things I talked about with everybody when we have our meetings in spring training,” Longoria said on a conference call today. “I was kind of trying to not cut back but (trying to understand) when I may need more work or when I may need to back it down and just relax a little bit.
“It was unfortunate that this happened, and maybe it was kind of a sign for me to realize that, hey, maybe I don’t need to take a hundred extra swings a day. It’s just always been I my nature, so I’ll probably back it down a little bit and realize when do need the extra swings and when I don’t and try to (emphasize) quality over quantity.”
Longoria, the Rays’ top run producer last year, has been out since hurting his oblique in the second game of the season April 2. He has been rehabbing the injury under the direction of Rays trainer Ron Porterfield and will play in the last of four scheduled minor league games tonight.
He said that, as far as being comfortable in the batter’s box, he thinks he’ll be close to 100 percent - except “probably 85 percent” for a few at-bats - and that he felt 100 percent fielding and throwing even before starting his rehab assignment.
He’s relieved about joining a Rays team that has come back from a 1-8 start to post a 15-13 record through the first 28 games.
“We don’t have anything to make up at this point, which is huge,” Longoria said. “I’m coming into a situation where the team is, obviously, above all else, and we don’t really have to do (much) right now. We just need to keep playing well. And putting wins on the board. That itself is going to make things a lot easier, not having to press myself into trying to do something I’m not capable of doing right now.”
We’ll have a complete story on Longoria’s expected return later on TBO.com and in Tuesday’s Tampa Tribune.