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Finger infection may sideline Tampa Bay Rays' Evan Longoria for All-Star Game

ST. LOUIS — Rays 3B Evan Longoria's All-Star trip has already been an experience.

He spent part of Monday's workout day at a doctor's office having his right ring finger drained due to a painful infection and, while hopeful, won't know until tonight if he'll have to miss the chance to be the organization's first All-Star starter.

Longoria said he planned on playing, but "I'm honestly not sure," Rays/AL manager Joe Maddon said after Monday's workout. "We believe this is something that can feel well rather quickly, and so it's just a matter of a little bit more time to know."

Longoria said the finger wasn't an issue Sunday but got worse Monday.

"I don't know what it was," Longoria said. "I don't know if I had a hang nail or an ingrown nail or something; I just got a little infection on the tip, and it just kind of worsened. …

"I was just worried because I had a little swollen gland in my elbow that kind of triggered it. So I had to go get it checked out; it was nothing serious; they just kind of slit it open a little bit to see if there was anything in there. … I'm planning on playing."

Longoria took ground balls and threw but didn't take batting practice during Monday's session, though he told Maddon he was feeling better.

Familiar face: RHP Edwin Jackson has had great success since the Rays traded him to the Tigers, but he said he felt nothing but good about seeing the old gang.

"It's definitely a good feeling to be back with some of the old teammates and old friends," he said. "It's like a family reunion all over again. We've been catching up, having a lot of fun."

Maddon, who has Jackson scheduled for an inning, said the feeling was mutual: "He's great. It's like it just was yesterday; he's the same kid. He's really enjoying it, and you can see his confidence is way up right now."

And there is an NL star with Rays ties: Justin Upton, younger brother of Rays CF B.J.

Taking it in: Carl Crawford and Longoria knew the drill, but the Rays' three first-timers — Jason Bartlett, Carlos Peña and Ben Zobrist — were wide-eyed through much of the media and workout day activities.

"I'm not going to sit up here and lie to you," Bartlett said, "to see all this, I've got butterflies. This is the All-Star Game, and I'm here."

Guest of honor: Even more thrilled was Tampa's Tommy Timberlake, the Rays representative in the All-Stars Among Us event. Timberlake teaches sailing to disabled people through the Sailability program at the Clearwater Community Sailing Center on Sand Key. "This is great," Timberlake said. "I was really surprised to get picked, and this is great exposure for our organization." For information, see sailabilitygreatertampabay.org.

Game planning: After Longoria, Peña may be the first Ray into the game, pinch-hitting the first time the pitcher's spot comes up. Look for Bartlett and Crawford to get in around the fifth or sixth. Zobrist likely will be saved for a potential late-inning move, so starting 2B Aaron Hill will play deep. … Barring an injury or extreme change of plans, that means the Rays infield won't get to play together. It is the fifth time in All-Star history a team has had a four-(All-)Star infield. … Roy Halladay — whom emcee Bob Costas introduced as "representing, at least for the moment, the Toronto Blue Jays" — will start for the AL, San Francisco's Tim Lincecum for the NL. … Longoria will hit seventh.

Miscellany: One of the more interesting questions Maddon had to ponder was deciding who would catch knuckleballer Tim Wakefield (Detroit's Brandon Inge is a possibility). … One of the more interesting questions he got, because the game matters and all: Would he consider in a crucial situation intentionally walking hometown fave Albert Pujols? (He said he'd think about it at the moment.) … One cool perk: The wives of the players and coaches got fitted in designer dresses for today's red-carpet motorcade through downtown St. Louis. … The AL has a 12-game unbeaten streak. … President Barack Obama will throw out the first pitch tonight.

Finger infection may sideline Tampa Bay Rays' Evan Longoria for All-Star Game 07/13/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 14, 2009 8:16am]

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