Matchups could affect plans for Longo

Matchups could affect plans for Longo

Matchups could affect plans for Longo
ST. PETERSBURG -- A couple of lefties during the Rays' upcoming road trip could affect their plans for third baseman Evan Longoria, who is still recovering from a partially torn hamstring.

Longoria played his first game in the field Tuesday and has been alternating at third base and as a designated hitter since then. Depending on the matchup, Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said he might be more inclined to use him as a DH and put Jeff Keppinger at third base.

That would also, in theory, include Elliot Johnson at shortstop and Ryan Roberts at second, moving utility man Ben Zobrist to right field in place of Matt Joyce, who rarely plays against lefties. But with the way Zobrist has excelled at shortstop and Sam Fuld has done well at the plate in the outfield lately, it gives Maddon more options.

"If Longo's ready to play and he's able to play, I just want to research that first," Maddon said. "It really does set things up well all over the map. ... My point is you'll see the righties and less lefties during the course of that week, but I'm not sure."

He reaffirmed, though, that it all starts with how ready Longoria is to play the field.

"I'm willing to play that day by day," Maddon said.