Yesterday’s loss to the Angels should be the last game without Evan Longoria in the lineup. And even if Dirtbag has a little rust, he will still be a vast improvement over those that manned the hot corner in his absence.
In all, Longoria’s oblique cost him 26 games, with the Rays going 15-11. During that span, three players, Felipe Lopez, Sean Rodriguez, and Dan Johnson, filled in for Longoria.
While playing third base, that group was 19-96 (.198) with 3 home runs and a horrendous 30-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Only Baltimore’s third basemen (.169) hit worse in the American League in April. And the group’s .248 OBP was the worst in the AL.
What the Rays missed out on, was Longoria’s typically hot start. In his career, Longoria is a .328 hitter in April with a 1.011 OPS. Both of those marks are by-far his best numbers for any month.
To make room for Longoria, the Rays are expected to designate Lopez for assignment.