Longoria: "I'm not the savior"
UPDATE, 5;14: Maddon said there were no set limits on Longoria's playing time, though he suggested there may be a day off on Thursday, with a day game after a night game. ... Maddon also tried to temper expectations, saying he doesn't want Longoria to try to do too much. For example, "no heroic movements" on the bases, such as not running too hard to first base or trying to break up a double play.
BREAKING: Evan Longoria was excited to rejoin the Rays on Tuesday, but did his best to temper expectations of his impact on the stagnant offense.
"I'm not the savior,'' Longoria said. "I'm really happy to be back. And hopefully I'm able to change the complexion of the lineup. Maybe not go out and hit two home runs a night, but maybe allow other guys to see some better pitches and allow them an opportunity to get going. ... Hopefully I can provide some kind of spark and get the offense going, but I try not to put all the weight on my shoulders.''
Longoria, speaking for nearly 12 minutes, said there are no set limits on how many days in a row he can play, that he would expect it to be more than 3, a number Joe Maddon had previously mentioned. "I don't want to put a number on it, but I don't see it being a 1 or 2 or 3-day thing and then having to take one off,'' Longoria said. "Hopefully more than three and go from there.''
Longoria acknowledged there will be "a little bit of hesitation" as far as explosive running, but that while needing to be smart, can do what he has to on the bases, such as going first to third or scoring from second. "I don't anticipate those being a problem,'' he said. Though Longoria didn't do much on the bases during his rehab stint, he said he did some "heavy lifting" work in his pre-game drills and felt good.
He said he feels "pretty comfortable" at the plate after playing eight games at Triple-A Durham, getting increasingly so. Though Longoria was only 5-for-25 at Durham, he said he had good at-bats and should be more comfortable facing pitchers he is more familiar with, and has more scouting info on, in the majors. "I feel really good going forward,'' he said.
Though Longoria initially well be limited to DH duties, he had continued to take ground balls and do work at third base, and said a return to the field is "hopefully right around the corner,'' though acknowledged there is no set timeframe.
In seven career games as a DH, Longoria is 4-for-25 (.160) with 1 homer and 2 RBIs.