Longoria heating up, feeling good at plate

Longoria heating up, feeling good at plate

ST. PETERSBURG -- July marked the worst offensive month of Evan Longoria's career, but it is safe to say he's back.

Longoria's three-hit performance Saturday was his first since June 19, and he had hit five home runs in nine games entering play Sunday.

Manger Joe Maddon said everything stems from Longoria's setup and unique batting stance, which he noticed was looking back to normal roughly two weeks ago.

"The way Evan begins everything is entirely different from anybody else I've ever seen," Maddon said. "Now, he's back to that. His feet are in the right spot. He's not rushing through the moment. All that stuff is back. With that, he's making better decisions. He's not swinging at bad pitches. He's not striking out. All that stuff is inter-connected. I think it began with his stance."

Maddon was even bold enough to suggest Longoria looks like the same Longoria that snuck the Rays into the playoffs on the last night of the regular season in 2011 with a home run to the left-field corner.

Longoria saw the same setup irregularities Maddon saw, but he said it is harder than it looks to correct them.

"We always talk about the stance when we look at the video," Longoria said. "I can look at that all day, but until I really feel like I'm doing it the right way, it doesn't matter. My swing is so feel-oriented. I can feel when it's bad. I can feel when it's good. If I see it on video, it doesn't matter. I haven't had to work too hard right now. I'm not thinking about anything, because it's going good. That's the way you want to be."

Longoria denied an opportunity to blame his July slump on the plantar fasciitis in his left foot that put him on the shelf for a brief time and said he only hopes to remain hot.

"There are so many ups and downs," he said. "I'm trying to ride this one out for the rest of the year and help the team be where we want to be on Sept. 30."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Sam Strong is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.