Star third baseman Evan Longoria got hurt very early in the season, and the Tampa Bay Rays started 1-8. Since then, though, they've gone 14-5. And Tuesday night, they get to welcome Longoria back to the starting lineup.
Longoria, who strained his left oblique in the season's second game April 2, said he should be "close to 100 percent" physically tonight and about 85 percent comfortable facing big-league pitching, needing just a couple of games to get re-acclimated.
During a four-game rehab stint, Longoria went 4-for-15 with three home runs. And considering what the Rays got in his absence, he won't have to do much to represent a substantial improvement. Sean Rodriguez and Felipe Lopez combined to go 18-for-95 with two home runs and 31 strikeouts as fill-ins at third.
To make room for Longoria on the roster, Lopez has been designated for assignment. Over 24 games, Lopez has posted a .610 OPS -- after posting a .656 OPS last season -- and drew Joe Maddon's ire at least twice for failing to hustle to first base.